At the start of September 2014, Nezasa launched the Dream Trip Contest 2014, putting out a call for avid travelers to enter by using the many tours, activities, transfers, hotels and more in nine different destination countries to assemble their dream itinerary, and send it to us with a short essay describing why they deserved to win it.
There was more than $8,000 in total prizes to be doled out, with $4,000 towards the Grand Prize winner’s itinerary and $1,000 each to the second- and third-place winners. Contributions of $200 went to the fourth through tenth-place winners.
The response was overwhelming, and many of them were so convincing that Nezasa would have made everyone a winner if we had the resources to do so. Needless to say, choosing the winners was a real challenge for Nezasa’s staff, who made their picks based on the highest average via a points system.
Without further ado, here are our top three winners.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: VICTORIA, CANADA
Our Dream Trip grand prize winner Victoria of Canada had a sad and beautiful story to tell us. In her essay, she told us about her father who passed away six years ago. She credits her father with a deeply set passion for travel, telling us that he travelled around the world when she was nine years old and then sent her and her brother out to backpack around the world for a year when they turned 20.
“Before he died,” Victoria wrote, “my father asked that his ashes be scattered in Moorea, which was his favourite place in the world. We are honouring his wishes and planning an epic trip to take my father to the last few countries he never visited (Japan, China and Philippines) before bringing him to rest in Tahiti. He travelled so much of the globe and we want to help him see the last few places he was too sick to explore.”
Victoria’s grand prize-winning itinerary will be a three-stop trip to Japan’s most fascinating cities: Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Her Tokyo journey will be highlighted by the Nikko World Heritage Day Tour, which takes her and her travel companion up into the mountains of Nikko National Park to see some amazing heritage sites including a shogunate complex which is home to more than a dozen Shinto and Buddhist buildings in a beautiful forest setting. After that, they will go on to Kyoto to stay at the stunning Hotel Granvia and experience the amazing three-day Hakone Park and Mt. Fuji Tour, plus a stop in Ancient Nara. They then wrap things up with a stop in Osaka and its many diverse features before returning to Tokyo to catch their return flight back to Canada.
SECOND PLACE: BARBARA, SWITZERLAND
Second-prize winner Barbara of Switzerland told us about her previous experience travelling with Nezasa to Vietnam. Her winning itinerary will consist of an extensive 17-day tour of Sri Lanka. “Next year, we would love to visit Sri Lanka to learn a lot about the country, the culture and the people,” she wrote in her essay to us. “And most of all, we want to find those elephants forming the heart so that we can learn to do it in perfection!”
Her itinerary will take her to six stops in Sri Lanka, including Negombo, Sigiriya/Habarana, Kandy, tea haven Nuwara Eliya, Passukidah and finally, Colombo. She has packed a diverse range of activities into her trip, including, of course, the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and Lion Rock in Sigiriya, the amazing Dambulla Cave Temples and Temple of the Tooth Relic near Kandy, the tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya, whale watching in Passikudah, and finally, an open-ended three-day stay in Colombo before heading back to her native Switzerland where she will share memories with friends and family back home.
She will be staying in some particularly luxurious accommodations spots, including the four-star Jetwing St. Andrew’s in Nuwara Eliya, which brings to life the days of the British Raj, and the retro-chic Cinnamon Citadel in Kandy, a wonderful retreat for those looking to explore the many ancient treasures of the region.
THIRD PLACE: KIRIANNA, NEW ZEALAND
Finally, third-place winner Kirianna of New Zealand touched our hearts with her desire to go on a honeymoon with her fiancé to Thailand. After searching online for the ideal honeymoon excursion, she came across Nezasa’s website and was excited at what she found. “Nezasa already had a well-planned honeymoon trip which would be beautifully perfect for my fiancé and I,” she wrote. “The opportunity to win this trip would dissolve so much stress and provide the two of us with a relaxing and well needed break with a chance to learn about a new culture, explore gorgeous wonders and educate our soul.”
In the spirit of “less is more”, Kirianna and her new husband will stay in just three locales over a 13-day period: Bangkok, where they’ll check out the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and have lunch at Ayutthaya and a Grand Pearl Cruise; Koh Phangan where they’ll enjoy true tropical paradise for four days while staying at the world-renowned five-star Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villa Resort & Spa; followed by an equally romantic escapade on Koh Samui at the Anantara Lawana Samui Resort & Spa. Life’s a beach for Kiranna and her fiancé, and if their goal is to destress, they are certainly on the right track!
Congratulations all around to our prize winners who we know will have an unforgettable experience. For future contest announcements, please subscribe to our newsletter at the top right of this page. Thanks to all who participated!