Indian Subcontinent

Our Indian Subcontinent travel blog

Seven of the Most Original Hotels in the World

When it comes to original travel, we have quite literally put our name on it. From UFO-shaped treehouses hovering in the canopy of the Swedish wilderness to decadent tented camps above the clouds in the Canadian mountains, our band of intrepid Destination Experts have sought out the weird, the wonderful and downright astonishing from all over the world. So in true Original Travel fashion, we bring to you seven of our favourite hotels that have inspired, allured and left us reeling.

Our Coolest Combos for 2017

Dynamic duos: think gin and tonic, French and Saunders, pineapple and pizza… okay, maybe not that last one, but the fact remains that some things are just better together - greater than the sum of their parts and thus elevated to legendary status (definitely not that last one, then). The same principles apply to travel - some destination double acts just work. With that in mind, we got to thinking (always dangerous) about our ultimate cool combos list, the jeans and white t-shirt of the holiday world, if you will. With our own cool combination of insider intel on the latest flight routes and knowledge of where's hot right now (in both senses of the word), we present the following perfect pairings...

Great Global Bake Off

We're a (healthily) competitive lot here at Original Travel and all this recent chat about the new hosts of The Great British Bake Off got us thinking. Why just Britain? And why just baking? Cue the drawing of continental battle lines and each team putting forward their region's finest cuisine for our inaugural Great Global Bake (and Roast, Braise, Steam, Sauté, Barbecue etc) Off. OK, so the title could do with some work but we think we've got a sure-fire smash hit show on our hands (any TV producers reading this, do give us a call). Fast-forward to the final, and after some fierce competition (Australasia saw off the Caribbean in a particularly closely fought quarter-final), which two continents do you think impressed the judges? It came down to a battle royale between Asia and Europe, with (spoiler alert) Asia eventually raising the trophy. Here are the reasons why. (Permission to salivate…)

The Best Boutique Hotels for 2017

Independently run, few rooms, bespoke interiors, personalised experiences and impeccable service - just a few of the reasons to pick a boutique hotel for your holiday. Yes, the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a destination are the stuff that treasured holiday memories are made of but the hotel (or lodge, or tented camp, or treehouse, or houseboat) can, and should, make the trip even more memorable. Whether you're heading out to a remote part of the desert, exploring a new city or simply want to flop by the pool, the place you rest your head at night is a crucial part of the holiday experience. And here are six of our favourite boutique boltholes for 2017…

Our 2017 Summer Holiday Picks

The unnervingly mild weather of the last couple of weeks (before we all got blown away by Storm Doris) has brought us out of hibernation and dreaming of sunnier times (and climes). It's true that once we Brits get the merest whiff of warmth, summer is pretty much all we can think about. And finding the perfect summer holiday destination is absolutely mission critical; sunshine, great food and an envy-inducing tan are all non-negotiables. Lucky for you we have the inside track on all the best destinations, hotels and activities, whether you want to simply flop on the beach, explore a new culture or spy some serious safari game…

Wildlife Wonders: Amazing Safari Experiences for 2017

Whether soaring in a light aircraft over the dust-red dunes of the Skeleton Coast, hiking through the Indonesian jungle to spot the Thomas Leaf monkey, or watching bears congregate at Campbell river on Vancouver Island, a safari is one of the most enriching and exciting holidays in the luxury travel arsenal. An Original Travel safari offers not just the opportunity to see nature at its most raw and beautiful, but to see it while being guided by an expert, away from the crowds and all while staying at some seriously luxurious lodges and camps. And as if you needed any further persuading, here are a few of our favourite safari experiences…

Variety is the Spice of Life

Sri Lanka has long been a favourite destination of ours here at Original Travel. It's a country that really does have it all; culture, stunning scenery, wildlife, beaches, boutique hotels, sumptuous food and perfect weather. I've just returned from my fifth trip (it's a hard life) and each time I fall more in love with it. The beauty of moving around and making the trip into a fabulous journey, makes you feel that you have been away for much longer… result!

Eight Reasons To Go To India Right Now

India has long been a favourite amongst Original Travel staff and clients alike. It's the kind of country that inspires a lifelong affinity and, once people catch the India bug, they tend to go back again and again - there is always more to discover. With that in mind, here are eight reasons you should go to India right now…

Do You Suffer From FOMO?

FOMO. Otherwise known as fear of missing out - a modern-day interpretation of keeping up with the Joneses, if you will. Yep, this is is how trends start, be that donning the latest fashion item, brunching at the newest hotspot or exploring the destination of the moment. And when it comes to preventing holiday FOMO, we've got you covered. We're here to give you the inside track on the best 'it' destinations at the moment, and a couple that will make you a real trend-setter...

Delightful Dunks

You know you're officially on holiday when you dive head first (or climb gracefully, or bomb, you get the picture) in to the cool, refreshing water of the hotel's swimming pool. And we're not talking about any old 25m situation, we're talking infinity pools with beautiful views, romantic private plunge pools and child-friendly pools to keep the little monsters busy for hours. So without further ado, here are seven of our favourite hotel swimming pools around the world...

The Best Honeymoon Destinations in Asia

Your honeymoon is the most memorable trip of your lifetime, a holiday you'll reminisce on in years to come with fondness and happy memories. So understandably you'll want to pick the perfect destination. But in a world with so many beautiful countries, which one to choose? We've searched far and wide cherry-picking the very best destinations across Asia that verge on honeymoon heaven. Take your pick from our favourite countries for a honeymoon in Asia…

Family Holidays in Sri Lanka

Searching for somewhere special to spend the school holidays? Look no further than Sri Lanka - the idyllic gem of the Indian Ocean. Small in size but rich in culture, this little island boasts everything from tea estates and coconut plantations to white sandy beaches and colonial forts. Sri Lanka is not necessarily the go-to family destination but children can experience vibrant local festivals, bustling street markets and observe animals in their natural habitats - it is safe to say there is no lesson quite like it. The country's complex climate sometimes puts travellers off, but if you play your cards right, you can dodge the wet weather and enjoy beach spots year round. Avoid the monsoons by travelling to the east coast in the summer months, the south and west during the Christmas holidays, and when Easter comes around, the whole country's your oyster. With a plethora of family friendly hotels and exciting activities on offer, read on to discover some of our top picks.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Clever, lively, flexible - no, we're not trying to simply flatter you into booking a holiday (do let us know if that would work, though), these are in fact three central traits attributed to those born in the Chinese calendar's Year of the Monkey. Ironic really, given the cerebral association, that there's so much confusion over the various suborders of primate (ape, monkey and prosimian, so Wikipedia tells us). Anyway, the advent of Chinese New Year brings not only a good excuse for a party but also another Year of the Monkey, which got us thinking about the best places on the planet to spot these cheeky beasties. And here's a few of our favourites…

Six of the Best: Tented Camps

Camping: one of the most divisive words in the travel lexicon. So often associated with cramped tents, dodgy Trangias and the vague whiff of wet dog. The irony is that some of the most luxurious and unique hotels in the world are tented camps; think large canopies, quirky furniture, spacious rooms and, most importantly, excellent service. So in the interest of myth-busting we've canvassed (see what we did there?) the Original Travel experts and come up with six of our very favourite tented camps around the world...

The Perfect Day in India

This week, India celebrated its Festival of Lights, Diwali. With this on our minds, and the approach of Kipling's 'Jungle Book' nearing our cinemas, it would be rude not to give India our devout attention. What better way to do that, than to fulfil your childhood Mowgli fantasies and dreams of living like a Mahārāja. So, without further ado, if geography and time were not barriers, this is how we would spend a day in India…

Rambling around Rajasthan

India: A cacophony of moments all played in fast forward, with overlaying sounds; loud and jarring. Yes, the beauty lies in the impossible grandeur and elegance of the palaces and forts, but turn to the million rooftops they overlook, with a story beneath each one; each detail that gives this place such a feel of sensory overload. It's the carved detail on a wooden door; the spice in your morning masala chai; the gold trim of a pink sari; the creased smile of the flower vendor; the distinct call from the minaret from a mosque (beside a Sikh temple, beside a Jain temple). It's the intrigue from the village children, the fine strokes on a fresco, the heat of a real Indian curry, the jangle of Bollywood music (that is somehow growing on me), and, if you're really lucky, the flash of a leopard's eye.

Festive Forays

Talk of Christmas already?! Well, it is just 91 short days away. That's a mere 2184 hours to go before we all start gleefully ripping open our presents, over-indulging on the turkey (and possibly the bubbly) and falling asleep in front of the telly, paper crown on head and drooling on our Christmas jumpers. It's enough to make anyone feel fantastically festive, no?

Our Top 10 New Year Holidays and Getaways

Between Aunt Marg's stuffy New Year's Eve party and getting stuck in hours of traffic, New Year's Eve is normally a painful ordeal. As a result, all those classic 'Bridget Jones' resolutions seem to go out the window in the early hours of the 1st January. We, at Original Travel, think that New Year's Eve should be spent revelling in all those things you intend to give up the next day. Why not escape that dreaded New Year's party, the never-ending pile of Christmas thank you letters needing to be written and the turkey you have been living off for days, and jet off to somewhere a little further from home. These are our top 10 best places to be for New Year's Eve...

Family Adventure Holidays

Thrilling adventures don't have to stop as soon as the kids arrive. At Original Travel we pride ourselves on being able to make even the most action packed holiday totally family friendly. After all, sometimes it's not only the children who can't sit still for five minutes.

Our Favourite Festivals Around the World

This past weekend nearly 200,000 revellers descended on a field in Somerset, flowers in hair, wellies on feet and tents in tow. There was mud, there was body paint, there was tie-dye and, oh yes, a spot of music too. You guessed it - Glastonbury. And once we'd heartily discussed (read: all got a bit shouty at each other) the pros and cons of a certain Kanye West being the headline act (the greatest rock star on the planet? Really?) we got to thinking about festivals in general. They do, after all, take you straight to the heart of a place, be it through music, culture, history, food or myriad other forms. So after much debate (there's a lot of festivals out there) we've compiled the Original Travel Ultimate Guide to Festivals Around the Globe. Revel away…

Our Top 10 Hotels for a Luxury Safari Holiday

Anyone with an interest in wildlife, habitats and adventure will have a safari on their bucket list. Whether you're in search of the big five in Africa, evoking memories of the jungle book in India or seeking exotic wildlife in Latin America, we know the very best luxury hotels, camps and lodges to stay in. Here are our top 10 hotels for a safari holiday:

Our Top Ten Honeymoon Hotels

Everybody loves a list, and anyone planning a honeymoon needs this particular one in their life. After much deliberation the team at Original Travel have come up with their Top 10 Honeymoon Hotels from around the world. Editing the list down to a mere ten proved mighty difficult, and more than a little contentious, but we like a challenge, so here goes with the finest post-wedding wonders…

Tiger Tourism in India

Here at Original Travel, we love to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with what's going on in our favourite destinations. Myself and Milly, representing Team Asia, recently attended the TOFT (Travel Operators for Tigers) Wildlife product update talk given by chairman Julian Matthews, which focused on the situation in India. As the safari season in India is drawing to a close, we wanted to give you a little snapshot of what has been going on in some of our favourite parks. While the situation remains precarious, with the presence of poachers ever-felt, there is plenty of reason for optimism.

A Tiger Safari in India

Asia specialist Miranda is truly passionate about tigers. Here she shares her once in a lifetime tiger safari holiday in India - one of her most memorable travel experiences to date. Originally Published August 2013.

The World on Sale

So what's up? It's more a question of what's down, and particularly against the Pound, thanks to a resurgent British economy. The rest will inevitably catch up (we're good sports like that) so the exchange rate bonanza won't last, but in the meantime there are bargains to be had. The World's on sale - get shopping!

Bespoke holidays to Rajasthan: Agra

Most know Agra as the home of the iconic Taj Mahal. Guest blogger Tony Herbert shares his thoughts on the epochal landmark, the grand finale to his bespoke tour of Rajasthan.

Bespoke holidays to Rajasthan: Jodhpur

Known for it's permanent state of sunshine and clusters of sky blue buildings, Jodhpur is a sight to behold. Guest blogger Tony Herbert embarked on a bespoke holiday to Rajasthan with Original Travel, and shares his favourite moments from his visit to the metropolis...

Bespoke holidays to Rajasthan: Jaipur

Jaipur, known as the "pink city", is a land of vivid colour and a kind of glorious chaos. Guest blogger Tony Herbert visited the city with the roseate glow as part of his bespoke holiday touring around Rajasthan...

Fourteen destinations for 2014

14 for '14? Sounds like a set of Mitchell Johnson's bowling figures from the recent Ashes debacle (one for the chaps there) but on this occasion referring to our predictions for the 14 destinations that are going to be big news in 2014.

Fun Family Holidays To India

India is a feast for the senses for all, what can be more exciting having read Kipling's Jungle Book than seeing all the animals come to life in the Indian Jungle; ride Colonal Hathi trying to track Sher Khan, if you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of Baloo or Bagheera going about their daily routines and watch the Bandar Log troop monkeying around.

Ginger and Honey Tea Recipe

This one is delicious… especially to warm you up on a chilly day after a long trek to Tigers Nest in Bhutan, also delicious after a hot stone bath and amazing massage at the Uma Paro spa. Let me introduce to you all...

Family Wildlife Holidays

Kids love different types of animals, here in the UK we have to go to the zoo to get up close to the weird and wonderful species around the world (don't get me wrong, a zoo always goes down very well) but what's better than choosing a destination for your family holiday where your kids can really experience these animals and take back great memories.

Christmas Holiday Destinations for Celebrations with a Twist!

Whilst Christmas isn't celebrated everywhere, those countries getting in to the festive swing of things have surprisingly different traditions, customs, and even dates of merriment. Here's a quick look at some of our favourite Christmas holiday destinations, both around the globe and a little closer to home!

India: Something for Everyone

Such a vast and vibrant country, India has a huge amount to offer visitors. 2012/13 are certainly no exception to that; with new modes of transport, new accommodation, holy and musical festivals, plus a whole host of other cultural events taking place, India really does have something to offer even the most well-travelled of India enthusiasts!

The Magic of Sri Lanka

My brother lives in Singapore, and I was lucky enough to combine a recent visit with a unique holiday to Sri Lanka - a country I have been longing to visit ever since I was a child, growing up fascinated by stories my grandmother told me of living in what was once Ceylon - a country seeped in Kipling-esque romance and mystery; pet mongeese fighting off snakes in the garden, tea plantations, elephant polo, wild jungle teaming with leopards.

The Best Cities in the World

As well as great loves, scandals and tragedies, the cities that set the scene in literature often tell their own story. They also make amazing starting points for the holiday of a lifetime. From the romance of St. Petersburg to the magic of Uttar Pradesh, here are our best cities in the world…

The Best Exotic Hotels in Rajasthan

An 'absolutely definitely' must see...The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel currently out in the cinema is a heart warming story of a group of Brits from all different walks of life, heading out to India for retirement. Arriving at the hotel, it is not quite as it has been described in the brochure, Dev Patel plays the brilliantly overly enthusiastic, charming, but totally useless owner...The film portrays Rajasthan as it really is, the friend I was with kept on turning to me and asking 'does that really happen?', it really does, and it is brilliant. I walked out of the cinema and almost headed straight home to pack my bags and rush to Heathrow to hop on the next flight out to India. Rajasthan really is one of the most magical places, here are some of my favourite hotels in Rajasthan....

Where To Go On Holiday To Escape Those Monday Blues

Today - the 23rd of January - is officially the most depressing day of the year, known colloquially as 'Blue Monday'. It's not surprising, considering that naked Christmas trees line our streets, we haven't been paid since the Christmas splurge and we're all on a diet. The solution? An exclusive escape, of course!

80 Senses: #11 - Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

A plateau palace carved into the rock... Rulers have long built imposing palaces to intimidate their subjects and terrify their enemies (two not always mutually exclusive parties), but few can have achieved the desired effect to the extent of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka.

80 Senses: #3 - Hear the Tigers in India

A tiger's prey FEELS the roar and is - literally - scared stiff... Pedants, beware. Technically this should probably go down as a 'sound' but when you actually hear the roar of tigers in India, you realise it's so much more than a noise. Semantics aside, you might think roaring would be counter-productive for a tiger using stealth to approach its intended lunch, but scientists (and unfortunate victims) have long known that there is something about the sound that induces a momentary paralysis, freezing the target in its tracks.

Ella Sri Lanka (Part Three)

Following on from part 2, here is the final instalment of our 3 part blog series about Tom's Sri Lanka tour...

New Destinations: Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

Those famous philosophers The Clash inadvertently put a modern moral dilemma in a punk nutshell - should we really travel to countries ruled by dubious regimes? Well, in some cases the answer is a categoric and resounding no (who'd want to go to France, anyway?), but for most of these destinations the situation is a little less black and white. Consider the following new destinations you could experience.

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