Author: Martina Lucić Čanak - Date: 30/12/2016
Secret Retreats, the travel specialists in discovering magical new places and experiences across Asia, has launched a new collection of Secret Journeys featuring original itineraries created with intimate knowledge of exotic destinations from local hosts. Intriguing new tours explore secret spots, tastes and traditions of local life beyond the typical tourist trails in Ladakh, North Palawan, Rajasthan and Borneo.
The tours offer the intriguing promise of discovering ‘secret spots’, known only to those who live in the region, and introducing the sights, sounds, tastes and beauty of local life beyond familiar tourist tracks and traps.
Itineraries ranging from three days at one hideaway to multiple destinations over a week or longer, embrace both cultural and gastronomic experiences and exotic adventures into the real Asia, including journeys to fabled Ladakh in the Himalayas, the idyllic islands of Palawan in the Philippines, Rajasthan in India and through the jungles of Borneo. Additional experiences in Laos and Nepal will be announced soon.
“Secret Journeys focus on sincere, high quality experiences designed by local hosts who are passionate about their home and have put their hearts into sharing the best of each destination, welcoming travellers the same as they would a close friend,” said Secret Retreats Managing Director Stéphane Junca. “Created through personal, local knowledge, they are uniquely interesting, authentic and visually stunning Asian experiences to go beyond typical touristic packaged trips.”
A 10-day adventure to Ladakh, in the Himalayan foothills of north India, priced at US$2,000 per person based on two sharing the same room, explores a world unknown to many travellers during the May-September season when the remote province is open for visitors. The journey venturing through a land steeped in legends transports guests back in time and is hosted by Alex Le Beuan from Nimmu House heritage hotel amid traditional Tibetan culture in picturesque Leh.
Exploring the Indus and Sham Valleys, guests visit some of the most celebrated and beautiful monasteries of Ladakh, cross the famous Khardung La Pass, which at 5,600 metres above sea level is the highest drivable road in the world, stroll across white sand dunes below snowy peaks, hike through stunning mountain scenery and gorges to Bagso fort or raft down the Zanskar River, meet a young French art restorer devoted to conserving the art and heritage of ancient monasteries, and visit the Royal Palace and monasteries in Leh, as well as a stay at the magical 200-year-old Stok Palace.
The 7-day ‘North Palawan Escape’, priced at US$1,715, explores one of the Philippines’ most unspoilt regions of outstanding natural beauty including emerald forests plunging directly into turquoise waters, powdery white sand beaches and dark cliffs surrounding deep pristine lagoons with stays at the exclusive resorts of Flower Island and Miniloc Island Resort in striking El Nido Bay.
Nenith Nacarion, the nature-loving host at Flower Island Resort, arranges snorkeling, island hopping, sea kayaking, forest and beach walks, and a visit to a local pearl farm for guests to best experience all the natural attractions the region has to offer.
The ‘Borneo Jungle Cruise’ aboard a private boat glides through jungle waterways of Sebangau National Park in Central Kalimantan, ventures into the lost world of Joseph Conrad, visiting a refuge for the island’s largest population of wild orangutans, and experiencing traditional livelihoods and culture in local villages. The 4-night/5-day cruise is priced starting at US$1250.
The 10-day ‘Taste of India’ journey, priced at US$1,575, is a feast for the senses moving from bustling Delhi’s maze of narrow streets and markets by cycle rickshaw to the amazing Taj Mahal, and colourful cities and palaces of Rajasthan, including iconic Jaipur and Udaipur, and a charming retreat in the small town of Shahpura.
Staying at intimate, handpicked hotels and discovering the many fascinating facets of Indian culture and delicious food, the adventure can also include a 3-day extension to the beaches of the former Portuguese colony of Goa, priced at an additional US$675.
“At each destination, guests stay with local hosts who are passionate about their local culture, traditions, gastronomy and lifestyle – the perfect places to unlock the secrets of Asia and enjoy a real sense of place,” added Secret Retreats founder Mr. Junca.
Known for curating a community of independently-owned boutique hotels across Asia, Secret Retreats is dedicated to helping intrepid travellers unlock the secrets of the East including a collection of hotels, inns, villas, cruises and restaurants across 15 different countries.
About Secret Retreats
Secret Retreats is a collection of unique properties and experiences – including boutique hotels, villas, cruises, restaurants and exclusive itineraries – throughout Asia. It is a community built by independent owners and chefs to share resources and ideas. Together, we offer our guests authentic travel experiences that go beyond typical offerings to connect to the very heart of Asian culture and traditions. Secret Retreats Members are vibrant advocates of their surroundings and passionate about sharing special moments with travellers curious to discover the “essence of Asia”. All properties and experiences also emphasise supporting local communities, environments and sustainability efforts in which they are based to ensure continued opportunities for both locals and travellers for years to come.
Photo credits: Secret Retreats / Secret Journeys