No.68 August 2015



A personal note from Yvonne

Dear Geoffrey & Kerrilyn, 

When you receive this newsletter I will have just left Havana - Cuba. It was an exciting time to be there as the relationship with America had resumed and I have seen the America flag raised outside the American Embassy for the first time in more than 60 years.

I did not know quite what to expect even though I had read the site inspection report that my husband had done and have had many clients visit Cuba over the last year. My expectations were far exceeded!

It is still difficult to get to Cuba from Australia but this will change in the next twelve months, and tourism will really take off.

The music, the cars, the people and the history. I need to read more to understand the politics of the past and the future and I will never understand the currency working on two different levels of CUC’S and CUP’S with one for tourists and one for locals. I will give a more detailed report when I return to Melbourne. The sooner one visits Cuba the better as I believe things will change and not necessarily for the better.

I am now in New Orleans and last night walked up Bourbon Street behind a jazz band organised especially to escort us to Antoine’s for a wonderful dinner. A truly great night was had by all on Jazz and Blues Small Group Tour.

I have just returned from a private jazz concert for our group held in Preservation Hall. A dream come true!

Once again we have achieved recognition as one of the top 16 travel agencies in the Concorde Group in Australia. An amazing achievement for a small, personalised agency such as ours. Thank you and congratulations to my wonderful team who deserve all the accolades.

Until next time,

Yvonne Lazarow
Managing Director




As so many of you have requested what is in the pipeline here is a preview of what we will offer:

Vietnam Tour with extension to Cambodia
14-26 September 2015 ( Departs in just over a week. Due to a cancellation, we have one room available. Call 1300 668 149 now if interested. 

Japan Tour
7 - 20 April 2016. Our 2016 conference year will kick off with an amazing GP and Specialist Medical Conference and Small Group Tour to Japan in April... timed perfectly for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Running from 7 - 20 April 2016, the all-inclusive itinerary spans 13 nights and includes Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Hakone. The group is limited to no more than 60 participants. Take a look at the information below or visit for more information and to download a registration form. This conference is open to participants who are not necessarily doctors but like the way we do the small group tours. Only 2 rooms remain.Call 1300 668 149 now if interested. 

Poland and Czech Republic
The second of our planned conferences will take place in Poland from 6 - 14 June 2016. The itinerary will focus on the beautiful cities of Warsaw and Krakow with the option to extend to the Czech capital of Prague from the 14 - 19 June 2016 available for those with a little extra time. Mathew recently visited Prague to put the finishing touches to our itinerary and hopes to have a full brochure to you in the coming weeks. Early Bird Special - $1000pp Travel Credit. Visits for details.

Golden Pagoda Tour to Myanmar
4 - 22 October 2016 plus four nights in Bhutan. The full brochure and registration form are available on our website (click here). Registrations are streaming in and this tour is sure to book out quickly.





We gave Yvonne the task of creating something very special for Kerry’s 70th birthday and boy, did Impact come up with the goods. Our original idea was to visit somewhere special for the actual day.  What eventuated was a 10 week trip visiting 5 different countries and lots of highlights!

Continued from last month: 

After Luang Probang it was a short flight to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. We spent a couple of days there sightseeing, but it is just another large city and we were happy to continue down south to the Bolaven Plateau and the 4,000 Islands.

The Bolaven Plateau is an incredibly lush plateau and premier coffee growing area in Laos that was once populated by the French. It was here that we had our first elephant trek and woke up one morning to find a mahout washing his elephant in the stream 50 meters from us. Once again, another highlight. 

There were highlights in abundance on this trip, including a bike ride around Done Daeng Island where they were getting ready for the rocket festival the following day to bring the rains (as depicted in the movie “The Rocket”). Bicycling on some of these islands is not quite the same as cycling in Australia. You never know what you are likely to come across on the track especially after very heavy rain and clay soil!!!! There were a number of hazardous “soft land mines” left by the local bovine population.

We had a period of four days between our Laos tour and Cambodia. This gave us the opportunity to go to Sapa in the mountains of Northern Vietnam. This is where we had our only glitch of the trip. As a result of Laos Airlines deciding to cancel our next flight from Pakse/Siem Reap/Hanoi and rebooking us a day later we ended up by spending Kerry’s actual birthday sitting in Siem Reap airport for 9 hours (not forgetting the reason for the entire trip was to celebrate the birthday). Not to be bea

ten we found a half bottle of French Champagne to have with our noodle soup. A further flight delay of an hour certainly made things tight at the Hanoi end. We had to cross the city, through the river of ‘ants on scooters’, and make the train to Sapa. We ran with our luggage across seven platforms and tracks and made it with ten minutes to spare. Whew!!! Sapa is a glorious spot in May. The hills are alive with rice planting the terraces are a picture of brown and green. We returned for an overnight in Hanoi before heading to Cambodia.

Cambodia - what can we say about it? It is a land of contrasts. Phnom Penh is a large, vibrant city that has certainly recovered from its harrowing past during the Pol Pot regime. Both the Genocide Museum and the Jail, S21, leave you with an incredible sense of sadness as to what occurred there during that period.

(Continued next month)




You've seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? In that case you've seen Petra, actually only a small part but let's not quibble between friends.

Petra is the most amazing place to be! The colours aren't quite as vibrant as Uluru but still absolutely beautiful. It is choc-a-block with sculpting, there are times when it's hard to know which bit to look at first. Hand carved by the Nabataeans 2000 odd years ago with influences from so many other cultures: Graeco-Roman; Egyptian; Mesopotamian and; many more (but you expected that phrase).

But, it is much, much more than you see in the movie and it took us about eight hours to walk slowly from one end to the other and even take in the museum for a few minutes. They understood about earthquake proofing their buildings, using juniper wood as it's a hard, resilient wood for this purpose. Try and see Petra with a guide to ensure you understand all the ramifications of what you see, our guide was Jafar and he knew enormous amounts of what we saw, not just in Petra but throughout Jordan.

Warnings: Take lots of water and sunscreen. People will try to sell stuff to you and you can refuse. There are places to buy drinks but water is the best. A personal warning from me, if you get a bad tummy go straight to a cafe and ask for Sage Tea - I was beginning to feel better in minutes.

Suzie is currently writing about her travels on her blog where she  normally talks about books. You can find far too many words, with accompanying photos, on this link










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