27 Feb 2023

23 Unmissable Holiday Experiences In 2023


With the Covid pandemic in abeyance, people the world over are flinging off the house-arrest of lockdowns and are all set to embrace the joys and freedom of travel once again. This is also the time to curate a great line-up of the most alluring holiday experiences you want in the coming year to the places you most want to visit in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Driven by sustainable lifestyle choices cultural immersion activities like experiencing local traditions, heritage, and cuisine reflect the paradigm shift in travel trends now.


Agra’sTaj Mahal- A ‘teardrop on the cheek of time’–the most enduring monument to love, the Taj Mahal, just has to be on your bucket list for India. On a moonlit night Mughal emperor Shahjehan’s shimmering white marble memorial for his beloved wife is a riveting otherworldly experience.

Varanasi Dream Cruise -This one-of -a kind leisurely, luxurious cruise has to be on your bucket list. Recently launched, the world’s longest river cruise, from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh, is a fabulous opportunity to also peek into 27 river systems in India, including the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly, Brahmaputra, and West Coast Canal. There are many iconic moments in store on its 3200km journey at 50 tourist spots, including Varanasi’s Ganga Aarti, and protected areas like Kaziranga National Park and the Sundarbans Delta.

Ladakh’s Hanle Dark Sky Reserve - Now within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary, the cluster of six hamlets—Bhok, Shado, Punguk, Khuldo, Naga and Tibetan Refugee habitations, are officially the place to go for super stargazing experiences. Head out from Leh on new moon days between March to October for the 270km drive to Hanle with a good quality smartphone that captures those pristine starry night skies.

Banihal-Baramulla Railway Magic - Don’t miss the opportunity to ride the cheery red locomotive with picture windows, sweeping you through India’s largest railway tunnel (11.2 km long) as it traverses the countryside over the Pir-Panjal Range to arrive at Qazigund. In summerm feast your eyes on classic vignettes of Kashmir–think alpine meadows, Bakarwal shepherds watching their flocks and mountain vistas of great delight. In winter, swathes of snow blanket this all away.

Kolkata tram Story - Tramjatra'23 marks the 150th-year celebrations of the Trams of Calcutta. The week-long celebration from the 24th of February to the 2nd of March covers three major themes: Heritage, Clean air, and Sustainable Mobility. The key attraction of this exciting festival includes the painting of three double-bogies trams depicting the history and legacy of the Kolkata Tram, which will navigate their way through the city in these five days. Enjoy also, musical and theatrical shows performed in these moving theatres, with the likes of singers such as Usha Uthup.

Kochi’s Art of the Matter - The much awaited Muziris Biennale, being held in 2022-23, in the historic setting of Fort Kochi offers an extravagant outlook of contemporary art in India. This rewarding jewel of time, place and human endeavour will blow you away with its superb artisanal curation of events from December 23, 2022 to April 10, 2023.

Srinagar’s Gardens of Paradise - Arrive at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden between March to May to soak in the fabulous kaleidoscope of colours of the gorgeous blooms that greet the eye at every turn. Hold on to this spring mood at Emperor Jehangir’s stunning Shalimar Garden. From a leisurely shikara ride on the Dal Lake, the centrepiece of tourist activity, ruminate over the pleasures of the beautiful Kashmir Valley.

Kuno National Park Cheetah – Spotting-Be amongst the first travellers to witness the historic return of the cheetah to the Indian jungles. Cheetah safaris will be launched anon in this game park rich in wildlife.

Delhi’s Tryst with Van Gogh -Be at DLF Cybercity in Gurugram in April to savour the delights of this rare opportunity to witness this unique showing of this master artist at Van Gogh 360°. The floor-to-ceiling projections of his stunning art will just blow you away. Mark 14-28 April on your calendar so you don’t miss this significant event, which will travel to other cities over the year.


Thimphu Stargazing - On a new moon night go stargazing at the 3,116 m-high Dochu La, the Himalayan pass that falls on the road between the national capital and Punakha. Mingle with worshippers and astronomers to navigate the settings of the clear night sky for viewings of remote planets such as Uranus and Neptune.

Trans Bhutan Trail- Recently reopened in 60 years this 403km long-distance trekking route, originally part of the Silk Road, extends from Haa in the west to Trashigang in the east connecting 400 cultural and historic sites. Along the way, travellers can culture-connect with 27 villages, explore many temples, and traverse 12 mountain passes. A fabulous way to discover this remote Himalayan kingdom even if you choose between day hikes and a seven-day trek!

Phobjikha Valley Avian Haven - In the isolated reaches of the Phobjikha Valley connect with the naturalist in you at the Black Neck Crane Visitors Centre, for a unique experience amongst its revered wintering guests–the Thrung Thrung Karmo, a rare and endangered avifaunal species.

Gangtey Monastic Recharge - Spend the day in spiritual retreat in the company of monks at the 17th century Gangtey Monastery lighting butter lamps and stringing up prayer flags.


Arugam Bay Surf’s Up - Between May to August take those baby steps at Whisky Point for your first underwater experiences of surfing with an expert on the island’s east coast. Arugam Bay is Sri Lanka’s world renowned cult destination for surfing.

Polhena Beach Turtle Tales - Near historic port town of Galle, 20 minutes away from Mirissa village, swim with giant sea turtles off Polhena Beach in the limpid waters of the Indian Ocean. A magical experience is watching nesting turtles at a hatchery being released in the sea. Take time out for spotting blue whales the largest living creatures on planet Earth, from November to April when the ocean waters are calm.

Jathika Namal Uyana Reserve Mountain Muse - The Dambulla cave temples filled with ancient Buddha statues are always a big draw; but an unmissable adventure awaits nearby in the Jathika Namal Uyana Reserve. A massive hike-able rose quartz mountain rises from the valley floor. This pale pink shiny elevation, Asia’s largest such rose quartz natural structure, is a hiker’s enviable adventure-altering experience, further heightened by the views from the top.

Sinharaja Rainforest Digital Detox - With zero access to the internet mobile phone signals, this superb forested world promises body and mind healing experiences while inviting you instead to switch into acres of biodiversity and tribal cultural landscapes.


Everest Base Camp Trek and Helicopter Flypast - Vignettes of the surreal world of one of the most accessible landscapes in the Everest area will fill your memory bank to the brim on the trek to the camp near the Khumbu icefall. Look forward to interfaces with the highlander community - the Sherpas and their world. Get blown away later with a helicopter flypast of Everest and its attendant peaks.

Kathmandu’s Garden of Dreams - Having shopped till you drop in the maze of streets selling exotic art and crafts in Thamel escape to the calming retreat of the Garden of Dreams, one of the lesser trumpeted gems of the national capital. This picturesque setting mirrors the riches of Nepal’s verdant beauty and serenity of its mountainous enclaves.

Pokhra Adventure Sports Thrills - Acknowledged globally as one of the most stunning natural settings in the Himalayas, Pokhra offers a delightful range of activities to soak up its multiple charms. This adventurer’s paradise is unmissable for its para-gliding and views of the glorious Annapurna ranges, Mt. Everest, and Mt Fishtail. Other adrenalin-driving delights await at different altitudes from Zip Lining, Bungee Jumping and Hot-Air Balloon rides.

Patan’s Back Roads Narrative - Having sussed out the amazing cultural delights of Durbar Square and the lanes and small pockets of artisanal pursuits, head out to the lesser known back road trails to interface with the richness of Patan’s historical, spiritual and ancient heritage in its village ways.

Upper Mustang Yarthung Festival - Ready yourself a truly unique community experience in the stunning remote environs of the Upper Mustang in Nepal’s the Annapurna Conservation Area. The annual Yarthung Festival, held during the full moon of August/September in the ancient town of Lo Manthang, brings together performers from the local Thakali and Gurung communities.

Chitwan Jungle Tryst - The UNESCO -acclaimed Chitwan National Park has long been a legend for the most rewarding wilderness experiences in its lush jungles and marshlands. Look for the endangered animal species like the greater one-horned rhinoceros and the extremely rare Royal Bengal tiger who are residents here. Canoe rides and short treks offer unmissable close- to- nature highs as well.

This is a peeling back of just a thin layer of holiday experiences to share with family and friends. Dig deeper to come up with your own wish list of places to see and things to do to add to this compelling line-up.

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