2015 was a fantastic year for The Big Adventure Company. It was our first full year of operating as TBAC, after officially launching in August 2014, and to date we’ve led 15 big adventures in Romania, Nepal, Bolivia, Burma, Cambodia and Thailand. As we start a New Year we’ve taken this opportunity to reflect on 2015 with a ‘Review of the Year’ blog post.
We kicked off the year with our ‘Burma Motorcycle Adventure’ and it was a great success. Steve led this trip which started in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand where we picked up our bikes, and then we rode on steep, twisty mountain roads as we crossed the border from Thailand in to Burma. We then spent the next 10 days exploring this magical country, visiting the Buddhist temples and pagodas of Mandalay and Bagan, and magical Inle Lake.
Shortly after the Burma trip ended and Steve returned to the UK, it was time for Nick to leave the office and head to Cambodia to lead our next adventure. We had 10 clients on our ‘Cambodia Big Adventure’, including Andy Wood from Woods Motorcycles who had just finished our ‘Burma Motorcycle Adventure’ (Andy also joined us on our Nepal recce in September 2014). The Cambodia trip was incredible and we loved riding through the jungles and waterfalls and exploring ancient temples.
Nick and Steve spent the whole of March in the UK office together and this was a great opportunity to continue with the plans and preparations for our upcoming trips. It was also a busy time with new enquiries and bookings, and Nick and Steve spent several hours a day on the phone talking to clients about our big adventures.
In early April Nick led our first official ‘Nepal Dirt Bike Adventure’ since the recce in October 2014, and in mid-April whilst Nick was still in Nepal, Steve flew to South America to lead our ‘Bolivia Motorcycle Adventure’.
With Nick and Steve both out of the country at the same time, TBAC HQ was left in Catherine’s capable hands. Nick’s Nepal trip started in the vibrant city of Kathmandu where we picked up our bikes and then we headed out to the mountain trails of the Nepalese Himalayas. This was an incredible adventure which saw us ride through the subtropical jungle paradise of Shivapuri National Park, and then we headed west into the Chitwan Valley, before taking the highway to the laid-back city of Pokhara. From Pokhara we rode on a rocky track to Lete where we joined the Annapurna Circuit, and then we rode up to the dry barren alpine of Jomsom and through a huge valley up to the spectacular Muktinath Temple. From Muktinath we rode to Tatopani and Bhyang and Phewa Lake before trip returning to Kathmandu. On the morning of 25th April just as most of our group were preparing to head back to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport for their flights home, the country was hit by a devastating earthquake which killed over 9,000 people and injured more than 23,000. Fortunately our entire group and all our local team were safe and uninjured, but obviously everyone was very shocked by what had just happened. After a long flight home via India, Nick and our UK clients arrived back in Heathrow at midday on 26th April. As we followed news reports about the situation in Nepal and received updates from our friends who were still in Kathmandu our hearts went out to the Nepalese people and everyone affected by the earthquake.
As Nick returned to the reality of the office, Steve and 11 clients enjoyed every moment of their ‘Bolivia Motorcycle Adventure’. The group travelled from the edge of the Amazon basin to the Andes Mountains and the Altiplano via the incredible salt plains of Salar De Uyuni, the world’s most dangerous road and the shores of Lake Titicaca. We absolutely love Bolivia and with its fascinating history, rich culture, colourful markets, and breathtaking and diverse landscapes it really is a country like no other.
In mid-May Nick spent a few days in the pristine wilderness of the Carpathian Mountains leading our first ‘Romania Dirt Bike Long Weekender’. This five day adventure was based deep in the stunning Transylvania region of the country and our accommodation was an idyllic mountain spa resort surrounded by forests, lush pastures and wildflower meadows. This was an incredible trip and the guys enjoyed some of the very best enduro trail riding anywhere on the planet.
In June Steve and Rosie enjoyed a relaxing holiday on the beautiful Greek island of Santorini. On arrival back in Gatwick Airport, Steve headed straight onto the M25 to Heathrow Airport for his next flight with British Airway via Sao Paulo to Cochabamba to lead our Bolivia motorcycle and jeep adventures. Although we had been to Bolivia twice before for a recce jeep trip and the motorcycle adventure in April, this was the first time that we officially ran two Bolivia trips simultaneously. We had 5 clients on motorbikes and 6 in jeeps and we think it is fair to say that during their two-week journey from the Amazon to the Andes they experienced a lifetime’s worth of adventure. During the trip one of our jeep clients, Keith Norgate, turned 65 and we celebrated his birthday with a very special lunch in the middle of the Salar de Uyuni salt flats.
Back at TBAC HQ we were very excited to welcome our new intern, Rita, who joined us on 20th July for a five month placement. Within just a few days we knew that we had made the right decision about offering the internship to Rita as we loved her friendly personality and positive attitude.
We spent all of August in the office and this gave us an opportunity to set our 2016 schedules and update our website, plus we had some exciting ideas in the pipeline which required a great deal of research.
In September Matt Hogg led our first Nepal Dirt Bike Adventure since the devastating earthquake earlier in the year. Matt joined us on our Nepal trip in April and he was assistant team leader on our Bolivia trip in June, and we were delighted that he was up for the challenge of leading this off-road adventure in Nepal along with our fantastic local team. The group faced some tough riding conditions as it was the tail end of the rainy season, but they all came together as one team and pushed through the challenges to have an epic time on their Himalayan adventure. A huge well done and thank you to Matt Hogg for leading his first trip and bringing the troops back safe!
In late September Nick returned to Romania on a recce for our new mountain bike long weekender. This five day trip included a guided ride out from our resort on single track trails through the forests and remote villages, passing incredible medieval castles and churches. The following day we drove to the Buceji mountain range in 4x4's and from there we tackled the ascent to Omu Peak at 2500 metres. It was a challenge but it was well worth the effort for the breathtaking views over the rocky limestone ridge of the Piatra Craiului Mountains. On our final riding day we conquered the steep narrow trail descent to the Zarnesti gorge and then we rode up towards Piatra Craiului between impressive rock walls. It was an amazing trip and we look forward to running our ‘Romania Mountain Bike Weekender’ between May-September 2016.
We ran a recce trip to Thailand in 2014, and in October 2015 Steve led our first official ‘Thailand Dirt Bike Adventure’. The Golden Triangle region of northern Thailand is dirt bike paradise and on this trip Steve and our riders tackled rocky climbs, jungle trails and river crossings. The group enjoyed stunning scenery as they rode through mountainous jungles, lush, green rice paddy fields and remote hill tribe villages.
Whilst Steve was leading our trip in Northern Thailand, the Capsey family enjoyed a holiday on a beautiful island in Southern Thailand. At the end of their holiday Catherine took the long haul flight back to the UK alone with their two children, and Nick flew to Phnom Penh to lead our second ‘Cambodia Dirt Bike Adventure’ of 2015. With everyone out of the office at the same time we felt very confident leaving Rita to look after TBAC HQ.
In mid-November Steve returned to Thailand to lead another Golden Triangle trip, and this one had a record number of 15 riders booked on. Our riders on this trip had some truly unique experiences, amazing photo opportunities and plenty of stories to tell friends back home.
Although we didn’t have any trips scheduled for December, we were snowed under with planning and researching new adventures and destinations (look out for some exciting announcements coming soon). It really has been a phenomenal year for The Big Adventure Company and we’re very proud of the feedback we’ve received from clients who have joined our trips. We’re now focusing on the year ahead and we’re looking forward to taking even more people on our big adventures in 2016.