President’s Picks

As you might imagine, I log a lot miles on the road and in the air every year. People always ask me about my favorite places. Here is the answer. In my travels, I am always on the lookout for what’s new, innovative, and cutting-edge. Yet, I am consistently surprised when I run up against the ordinary in the travel industry.  And, that is too often the case… the same old stuff – the same sights, the same activities and the same routings.  I found this in Australia, China and Chile, just to name a few.  At times, there seems to be little difference between private tours and the masses of buses in that they are all headed to exactly the same places.

Indeed, probably 95% of travelers are still being funneled into the same molds, whether they are private clients or mass market. At Big Five, we have deliberately chosen to look after the 5% who share our philosophy, where the most valued asset has nothing to do with price.  Of course, there are classic sights that will nearly always be included. After all, who would go to Egypt the first time and not visit the great pyramids of Giza? But there can still be distinctiveness and originality in how they are seen. That is our intellectual property, where creativity, originality and outside-the-box thinking are the rule and not the exception. This is ingrained in our entire Big Five team, which means that we look deeper and farther afield to give you something more.  Our aim is to present you with journeys that are worth taking!

With President’s Pick, I wanted to take that a step further, to share adventures that I am personally passionate about, tours that have touched me in some way and where I have seen a serious need to not merely think outside the box, but to destroy the box. I have never been one to follow, and I always aim to make a positive difference in every one of our destinations.  Please enjoy my personal picks, and let us help you plan yours.

Sincerely,

Ashish Sanghrajka


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President’s Picks Tours

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President’s Pick Southern Ethiopia’s Omo Valley Tribes 10 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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"Southern Ethiopia offers an amazing number of traditional indigenous communities that survive today. We introduce you to the Dimeka women’s market as well as Key Afer, one of the most outstanding market of the Lower Omo Valley tribes. I think you'll find that this phenomenal country is worth exploring before your friends and family beat you to it."


President’s Pick Peru Northern Climes & Cultures 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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"I am a big fan of Peru because of its variety of experiences. In this program, I love the opportunities to hike spectacular mountains, and walking into the archeological sites like Kuelap is like walking straight into the past. This is one of the largest ancient stone complexes in the western hemisphere, and Caral-Supe is another – a 5000-year-old site that is oldest center of civilization in all the Americas. Journeys like this offer us the chance to experience a bit of what the early explorers might have felt."


President’s Pick: Vietnam Private Exploration 7 Days Precious Journeys® College Edition Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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"There is beyond the peak, then there is beyond the beyond. This journey is so outrageous in activity and special inclusions that I just had to share it. Never before has Vietnam been seen like this. It will get you out of your comfort zone and really questions what we have all assumed about Vietnam as a travel destination."


President’s Pick On the Trail of Primates 18 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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"The dynamics of Africa are always changing, evolving, and never more than in 2019. The concept of the safari is expanding far beyond classic routes and activities to more authentic, personal and closer encounters. This program was designed with one of our best travel advisor partners and represents the exciting new frontiers to be experienced in Africa."


President’s Pick Namibia Desert Quest 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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"I fell in love with Namibia long before I even understood why. What was the connection? Was it the dramatic dunes, the remoteness and remarkable desert animals? Was it the community-based conservancies? Was it that they were the first country in the world to have a sustainability amendment in their constitution? Today, I can tell you that it was and remains all of that. But you need to move beyond the dunes of Sossusvlei."


President’s Pick Colombia A Natural 17 Days President’s Picks Interest(s):

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“Colombia has always felt like home to me and the quest to rediscover always starts at home. This journey is our latest step to introduce you to new activities and new regions to further prove, this sleeping giant of Latin America is fully awake.”


President’s Pick Morocco Mazes & Mysteries 12 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Adventure Travel

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"Every year I visit Morocco and I am amazed by two things: how much the country has to offer, and how little of it is really being done right. Morocco has long been known for its riads, the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara desert and the excruciatingly long drives. This is reflected in nearly every itinerary across the board. This journey is designed to focus more on the adventure side plus the luxury aspect of Morocco and minimize some of those long desert drives. It takes you inside a Berber home, camping on the great sand dunes and into the dramatic gorges of Todra."


President’s Pick An Adventurer’s Chile 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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"Chile has one of the richest histories in Latin America. Yet, too often, I see the same few locations come up repeatedly. There is so much more to Chile than just ice and desert, right? I am happy to answer with a resounding yes. Imagine Chile before the bus tours, the hotels and the overcrowded spots. Now, imagine traveling to places where hidden luxury hotels sport names that you need to learn to pronounce with adventures you didn’t know were there. This is the Chile I fell in love with and want to share with you."


President’s Pick Colorful Japan 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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My first visit to Japan was almost two decades ago. What amazed me the most was how much potential was here once we got away from standard bus tour activities. This journey represents that potential beginning to be realized. We are challenging the norms that take even some local guides out of their comfort zones to find the Japan most people never see.


President’s Pick A Grand Safari in Africa 24 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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"A few years ago, the question used to be which part of Africa do you choose, East or Southern? Combining the two not was an option. Thanks to new flight routes and the exploration of new adventures, the question now is where do you want to start, Nairobi or Cape Town. It’s the perfect safari for someone that has the time and wants to see as much as possible. Imagine, seeing Cape Town from a WWII motorcycle sidecar, engaging with the San people of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi before exploring the Okavango Delta by mokoro. Take in the awesome power of Victoria Falls, connect with an orphaned elephant at the Sheldrick Orphanage in Nairobi, and cap of the greatest safari with the greatest wildebeest migration in the Serengeti!"


President’s Picks: Australia Down Under Canvas 15 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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“When one thinks of Australia, the first image that comes to mind is usually the iconic opera house or sacred Uluru (Ayers) Rock. But I see so much more. I see undiscovered roads and overlooked sites. For me, this journey is about canvas… luxury canvas to be sure. This tented camp adventure represents the tangible spirit of the Outback. This is the Australia the masses will miss, yet everyone should experience.”


President’s Pick: Tanzania Safari in the Sun 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s):

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“I am a firm believer in conservancies and private concessions, and I always look for those secluded spots, even in crowds, where one can see the animals and not vehicles. This safari, as second generation East Africa native, spoke to me because we are combining the newest camp in the central Serengeti that defines opulence, with a private concession in the Grumeti Corridor. This allows the migration window to become wider than before, offering two vantage points to see the herds, before they head to the crowded areas of the northern Serengeti. Combine that with the most exclusive address on the Ngorongoro Crater and a private island stay north of the Mnemba Atoll in Zanzibar, and you have a safari for the ages”