Unexpected Easter escapes
Easter this year falls on April 16, and with bank holidays either side of the weekend, it’s the ideal opportunity to leave the UK behind and have an exciting adventure. The Easter bunny will be able to find you wherever you are, so why not take off on unexpected Easter escapes to one of these destinations which are at their very best in the spring?
Ride the Maharaja’s Express in India’s Golden Triangle
India’s answer to the Orient Express is regularly named as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world. The opulent coaches, almost half a mile long, are inspired by the private trains of India’s kings. They are lavishly decorated with wooden paneling, Indian textiles, and frescos. You can have a pre-dinner drink in the Safari Bar, then dine onboard in the Mayur Mahal (Peacock Palace), which is replete with two gilded peacocks.
On the four-day Treasures of India Journey you can visit five different UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Taj Mahal. Go tiger spotting in the Ranthambore National Park and tour the Amber Fort and Jantar Mantar observatory. You’ll watch a game of elephant polo and have a Champagne dinner at the City Palace in Jaipur — activities fit for a king.
Hike through the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu
Peru’s Inca Trail is a trek of almost legendary status. Even if you don’t have the time to hike its full length through the Andes Mountains, you can still approach the remarkable site on foot. The train ride through the Urubamba Valley is stunning, but the excitement really builds when you disembark from the train and begin to climb the mountain. Across the Winay Wayna are row upon row of stone terraces, Inca staircases, and multi level fountains for irrigation.
Passing finally through the stone arch at the top — the Sun Gate — Machu Picchu will be laid out before you. Stroll at a leisurely pace down through the Lost City, perhaps stopping to enjoy a drink on one of the terraces. Then spend the night at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel within the citadel. If you time your visit carefully, you can watch the sun rise over Machu Picchu on Easter morning.
Cruise by luxury junk amongst the islands of Halong Bay
The picturesque limestone peaks and islands of Vietnam’s Halong Bay have formed the backdrop to numerous films, including scenes from Tomorrow Never Dies. You can follow James Bond out onto the water and cruise on a private junk, the iconic Vietnamese shipping boat.
But this is no ordinary junk: onboard you’ll find elegant cabins with handmade furniture, en suite bathrooms, and private balconies. You can relax in the jacuzzi and watch the sunset from the deck with a cocktail in hand before taking supper in the candlelit dining room, or dining alfresco on the sundeck. Stops include Luon Cave, Turtle Island, and Heaven Gate Island, and there are also ample opportunities for swimming and kayaking.
Meet a giant panda in the Qionglai Mountains
China’s giant panda is a conservation success story, in spite of the best efforts of the panda! Spearheading the species’ recovery is the Panda Breeding Research Centre in Chengdu, which includes the Giant Panda Museum. When you volunteer here for the day, you’ll get to see the panda up close and learn about their tastes and habits. On a private tour of the centre you will prepare their food, clean enclosures, and record the pandas’ behaviour as they play in areas specially built to imitate their natural habitat.
But there’s more to Chengdu than just panda. There are wild and beautiful landscapes criss-crossed by rivers; the Thousand Buddha Cliffs at Guangyuan; hikes in the Qionglai Mountains; and a burgeoning culinary scene.
This Easter, leave the egg painting and egg races behind. Instead, have unexpected escapes with Exclusive Adventures.