Life is full of contrasts, maybe this is why I love to design trips with a lot of rhythm, sometimes even to the point of madness! A good example of this was my trip from Ladakh to the Maldives; from a height of 5.602 meters to the sea level.
The region of Ladakh is located in the north of India, on a 3,500 meters high plateau, known as the “little Tibet”. A picturesque and surprising place.
When we climb so high, the first and most important thing is to acclimatise. After all, we are almost on the roof of the world! This is why our first day in Ladakh was very quiet, except for a short walk in the afternoon.
Our first stop was Shakti Nimoo Village House, a renovated and beautifully decorated local house with amazing views, which is part of Shakti Himalayas. This project focuses on designing local experiences that allow you to discover the most remote villages in the region. Strategically located, these houses are an ideal opportunity to discover the area and stay off the beaten track while allowing you to interact with the locals.
In Nimoo we visited unexplored temples and enjoyed the views from narrow and steep roads and stairs. Contrary to what happens in other touristic areas of the Himalayas, where it is difficult to avoid the crowds, there we were always by ourselves.
And at night, we were able to admire the entire Milky Way; being so close to the sky, it seemed as though we could touch the stars with our hands.
Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is a shopping paradise. Walking through its markets is very fun, and it’s also an ideal place to meet interesting people.
On the outskirts of Leh we stayed at Shakti River House, from where we were able to discover the fascinating monastery of Thiksey, an excellent example of religious architecture in Ladakh.
From there we also enjoyed a bike tour and unique experiences such as being able to meet some of the monks and share interesting conversations with them.
There, we also discovered the Women Empowerment Center, an army project where they support women and help them become self-sufficient.
Next, we headed to The Ultimate Travelling Camp in Diskit by car, driving on the highest road in the world, 5,602 meters high. Traveling on this road is like going on an adventure among glaciers and ornate trucks!
After this, we were happy to finally get to the camp.
The tents are very similar to those in African safaris; they offer every comfort and allow you to sleep closer to the nature of the Himalayas, enjoying the landscapes.
One of the most magical moments was when we spotted a halo around the sun, a phenomenon that apparently brings good luck to those who witness it.
In addition, during our stay in Diskit we also practiced archery, we went on a camel ride and we were able to take part in a tribute party for women.
On our way back to Leh, we took an alternative route and crossed the Warila Pass, 5,312 meters high, to go to Chamba Camp Thiksey, a fantastic camp with beautiful views over the monastery.
Before returning to Delhi we spent a few days in Ananda Himalayas, the cradle of Ayurveda, an ideal place to get some rest by the Ganges River and get reacquainted with oneself.
Ananda Himalayas has exceptional therapists and doctors specialised in Ayurvedic medicine, and is a must destination to enjoy some pampering as well as a healthy and delicious cuisine. In fact, many of their clients are repeaters, and they travel there once a year to find their mind and body balance.
There, we were also able to live unique experiences along the sacred river Ganges and admire the aarti ceremonies that take place on its banks.
After our stay in the Himalayas we headed to bustling Delhi for a fun family encounter with my sister and my nieces. We took the opportunity to visit Old and New Delhi, as well as inspect the best hotels in the city to see all their novelties.
During our stay we visited the Jama Masjid mosque, we went through the old city in tuk-tuk and walked around the spices market.
We also discovered all the ins and outs of the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple, visiting its social dining room and admiring the rites and music of this interesting community.
As for accommodation, in Delhi there are hotels for all tastes. The most stylish ones will enjoy a stay at The Leela Palace New Delhi while they relax and enjoy a swim their rooftop pool.
Those looking for the latest technology will find it at The Oberoi Delhi, a modern and newly renovated hotel. And for the lovers of history and classic style, The Imperial New Delhi is the ideal accommodation.
On this occasion we chose The Lodhi for our stay, a classic hotel in the city that offers private pools in many of its rooms.
From Delhi we traveled to Trivandrum, in the south of India, where after some setbacks and baggage losses – quickly solved problems thanks to the professionalism of our DMC in destination -, we managed to embark towards Soneva Jani, in the Maldives.
The truth is that I never get tired of the Maldives, because there’s always a reason to travel back to this paradise. On this occasion, apart from relaxing, I took the opportunity to inspect Soneva Jani for the second time, after my last visit during its opening, two years ago.
Soneva Jani is a spectacular resort with a beautiful lagoon, that is continuously striving to improve. It offers the most interesting activities, such as workshops and dinners with guest chefs and experiences with specialists in the fields of astronomy or marine wildlife.
During our stay we enjoyed an excellent culinary experience at the hands of MasterChef and celebrity Joe Barza, who specialises in Lebanese cuisine.
We were also able to observe the spectacular Maldivian sky thanks to Matt Robinson, an amazing astronomer who helped us observe the full moon, as well as Jupiter and its four moons, Saturn and Venus.
Matt is one of these interesting people that we love to discover in our journeys.
We combined our stay at Soneva Jani with a visit to Cheval Blanc Randheli, a classic destination in Maldives. There, we spent an excellent day and we were also able to enjoy a delicious lunch and dinner; a tribute to the senses.
We took the opportunity to revisit the property accompanied by Renato W. Chizzola, General Manager and Vice President of Operations.
I bid goodbye to the Maldives saying “see you soon” while I enjoyed the views from the seaplane. Because flying over paradise is the closest thing to being in heaven.