Before you experience a country it’s easy to think in headlines – the Taj Mahal, Tiger’s Nest or Everest. But when you return it's often the unexpected encounters and lesser-known attractions that really stay with you.
Take a look beyond the headlines and five-star luxury and embrace the daily detail and simpler way of life off the beaten track. Visiting the iconic Taj Mahal is justifiably an unforgettable moment on cultural tours to India, but we wouldn’t want you to miss out on some hidden gems. So we’re meticulous with our research and take great trouble to include many lesser known, but equally impressive places that others unknowingly pass by.
Wherever you decide to travel in India, Bhutan and Nepal we will help you escape the crowds and access experiences that are truly out of the ordinary. From joining devotees for prayers in a little-visited temple in Bandipur or having a sauna in a farmer’s hot stone bath in Bumthang to learning to cook local specialities with a family in Udaipur.
Take a look at the sample trips below for more inspiration, or talk to us about planning an adventure.
The Road Less Travelled Experiences:
Find a traditional welcome at a Kerala homestay
A homestay offers the chance to experience a side of India that’s only possible by staying with a family. It’s a concept that originated in Kerala and an...
Discover Thunder Dragons in Bhutan
With one foot in its medieval past and gross national happiness put before gross national profit, a trip to Bhutan is the perfect antidote to modern lifeUntil the 1960’s Bhutan had no roads, cars, telephones...
Kerala’s backwaters by boat
A tropical labyrinth of lakes and lagoons criss-crossed by rivers and canals, there’s no better way to explore Kerala’s Backwaters than by houseboat. Through a verdant countryside in every shade of green...
Mobile luxury camping in India
A luxury mobile tented camp is the perfect way to get off the beaten track and discover a calendar of seasonal events and festivals in northern India.The cultural richness of India means there’s a...
How do you find these places?
We’ve spent almost 20 years travelling extensively in India, Bhutan and Nepal, crossing vast deserts and high mountain passes, exploring jungles and wandering down back streets to seek out the unusual. Along the way we’ve assembled a formidable dossier of secret places which we’ll be happy to share with you and build into your tailor-made trip.
How do I get around?
Drawing on our local knowledge we carefully plan the logistics of your trip. We’ve an enviable list of contacts we can tap to get you beyond the highlights and give you exceptional experiences in out-of-the-ordinary places. Our trusted partners, charming hosts, expert guides and private drivers understand why you’re there and go the extra mile to make sure you get to know the heart and soul of the country.
Where do I stay?
Forget ‘5 star’ and conventional hotel rankings, but expect comfort and local cooking, excellent service and inspiring accommodation. We’ve hand picked some extremely special places to stay, from remote hillside retreats to luxury camps with views to die for, intimate homestays to forts replete with myths and legends. They may range from simple and quirky to occasionally rather grand, but in each you’ll find a warm welcome from staff and your hosts. We regularly visit these places to make sure they’re still wonderful spots to stay, and are always happy to share our recommendations when planning your trip.
Is the food safe to eat?
The simple answer is yes. Heading out of the cities you’ll find some exceptional cuisine that can be an unexpected highlight of your trip. Dining may be a candle-lit five-course meal in a remarkable setting or honest, local fare prepared from freshly picked ingredients. In homestays you’ll be treated to dishes made to recipes that remain a closely guarded family secret – but if you’re interested, we can arrange for a private cooking lesson or two.