The end of the year is fast approaching and we hope you’re gearing up for a big bash to bid adieu to 2017. Don’t let the approaching end of the holiday season cloud your celebrations; 2018 promises to be a year of fun, fresh beginnings and have a bounty of long weekends in India.
To make sure you take full advantage of these weekends, TripDukaan style, we’ve curated a special calendar which highlights all the holidays in 2018 along with suggestions about where to go.
20th – 22nd January
The latter half of January has two long weekends – spend them by indulging in some R&R – well deserved after a predictably hectic start to the New Year. On Friday the 19th, take a quick flight or overnight train to Kerala and drive to Kannur or Varkala which are serene coastal towns.
In Kannur, spend your days leaving your footprints on pristine, peaceful beaches or soaking up culture at the 16th century St Angelo Fort and the Arrakal museum which showcases intricate furniture and weapons which belonged to royalty. Kannur is known for its delectable seafood – try Kaippunyam’s fried fish or Raandhal’s seafood spread. There are plenty of pocket-friendly stay options right on the coast. The Asokam Beach Resort offers beautiful sea views and delicious breakfasts while Malugdi Holidays is a quaint hotel with a range of facilities.
26th – 28th January
The weekend after continue your Kerala adventure with a stay at Varkala, another seaside town famous for its focus on yoga, Ayurveda, and clean living. Begin your relaxing weekend by checking in at the Kshetra Beach Resorts, The Haiwa beach Residency or The Varkala Beach Resort & Ayurveda Spa, all of which offer in-house wellness treatments.
You can also spend your time exploring stretches of white beaches, the Anjeno Fort, the Krappil Lake as well as visiting several temples.
Wednesday the 14th of February is a holiday for Maha Shivratri, so why not take a couple of days leave before or after it to make a long weekend?
Head to Kanchipuram,, a forty-five-minute drive from Chennai which boasts century-old monuments and an immense historical significance. Spend your days visiting ancient temples and Kanchipuram silk which is famous across India for its quality and texture. Stay at MM Hotels or Hotel Milestonnez, both of which are conveniently located in the city center.
2nd – 4th March
On March’s first weekend, celebrate World Wildlife Day with a visit to one of India’s magnificent national parks. The Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh has the highest density of Royal Bengal tigers in the world as well as a multitude of other animals including leopards and deer. Stay at the Baghela Resort or the Bandhavgarh Meadows to keep things pocket-friendly and spend your days traversing the park in safari jeeps.
In South India, the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka is another great option. It’s home to tigers, leopards, a large population of elephants, a range of deer and several bird and fauna species. Stay at The Nestin or Vana Vihar which boast beautiful surroundings and warm, friendly service.
29th March – 1st April
The last weekend of March is a four day weekend; why not take a few more days leave and jet off for an international holiday?
We’d recommend Sri Lanka which is under a three-hour flight away. Fly into Colombo and then take a scenic train ride to Galle, a historic coastal town which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Spend your days exploring century old churches and religious structures and feast on authentic Sri Lankan fare at Galle’s Spoon Cafe or the Elita Restaurant. Stay at the Windy Garden Villa or the Aragon Villa, both cheerful, comfortable spaces that will make you feel right at home.
Another stunning Sri Lankan destination is Bentota, home to the Bentota beach and several dive sites brimming with marine life. Stay at the Mihin Villa Bentota or the Warahena Beach Hotel and dine at Malli’s Seafood Restaurant or the Chaplon Tea Center.
28th April – 1st May
For a completely off-beat adventure, take a jaunt to Divegar in Maharashtra’s Raigad district for the Velas Turtle Festival, a thrilling experience where visitors can see Olive Ridley turtles hatching along the coast and make their way towards the sea. Divegar has a few other adventure activities including parasailing and boating, but you can just as easily spend your time soaking up the sun on its warm beaches.
If you want to take a couple more days off in addition to your April end, May beginning holidays, why not plan an international trip? Nepal is especially appealing; it’s a two-hour flight away and has a wide range of activities to offer. Fly into Kathmandu and spend a day or two exploring the city, which is home to several beautiful temples, shrines and tempting handicraft markets.
Then, venture off the beaten track to Nepal’s Kaski district which is filled with green fields, azure laves, ancient caves set against a backdrop of towering mountains. Stay at the Mystique Highland Resort or the Dhampus Resort to enjoy stunning views and comfortable rooms. Be sure to sample Nepali delicacies including dal-bhat-tarkari, a hearty dal based dish, momos and thupka, a hot noodle soup.
15th – 17th June
Just before the monsoons, summer in the cities gets unbearable; it’s the perfect time to head for the hills. Hill stations like Lonavala, Ooty, and Darjeeling are popular hot spots, but why not try somewhere new? In the South, visit Ooty’s beautiful lesser-known sister, Kodaikanal. Kodaikanal boasts a large lake, surrounded by activities, vast eucalyptus forests and various scenic spots. Popular restaurants include Abby’s, Tibbs (which serves authentic Tibetan fare) and Tava Vegetarian. Stay at the Hilltop Hotel or Hotel Astoria, both conveniently located at the center of the town.
July brings with it the monsoon and – sadly – no long weekends. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get out of the city for a weekend getaway. Why not take a trip to a nearby National Park? The monsoon will have painted them in vibrant colors; try the Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra or the Sariska National Park in Jaipur.
17th – 19th August
Delve deep into history this weekend with a trip to Hampi in Karnataka. Hampi has a vast plethora of ancient temple sites and ruins from the intricate Virupaksha Temple which was built in the 7th century to the Vijaya Vittala Temple with a huge stone chariot.
There are also several sites which were frequented by royalty including the Queen’s Bath and the lush green Royal Enclosure. When in Hampi, stay in the family-run Mowgli Guest House or Hotel Hampi International and dine at Mango Tree, for expansive thalis, the Laughing Buddha for delicious Israeli fare and the German Bakery for all things sweet.
1st – 3rd September
Start September on the right note by visiting India’s very own lake district; Bhandardara, a small mountain village in Maharashtra’s Igatpuri district. Bhandardara is a trekker’s heaven with several moderate to challenging treks including a trek to Kalsubai, Maharashtra’s highest peak.
Bhandardara boasts several natural lakes, waterfalls, emerald green forests and a bounty of peace and quiet, especially welcome for us urban dwellers. Stay at the MTDC Holiday Resort or the Anandvadan Resort, both budget-friendly options which offer breath-taking views.
21st – 23rd September
For your second September long weekend, take a jaunt to Devikulam, in Kerala’s Idukki district a short drive from Munnar. Like Munnar its home to vast tea estates as well as the Mattupetty Dam and the Sita Devi Lake which features in the Ramayana as a place where the goddess Sita bathed.
The cozy Nandanam Home Stay is the perfect place to bask in Devikulam’s beauty. Fortify yourself with traditional Malayali food at the Treetop or Pine Tree Restaurant and then spend your day exploring the tea plantations and colorful walking trails.
19th – 21st October
If you’re fond of adventure sports, make it a point to visit Vihagaon on the long weekend in October. It’s a beautiful, twenty-minute drive from Kasara railway station and home to the majestic Vihagaon waterfall, which was an iconic filming location for the Shahrukh Khan starer, Ashoka. Adventure experiences include rappelling, trekking and climbing – there are several groups which organize these activities. Put up at Hotel Ashwin or Hotel Sai Plaza, which are short drives away from Vihigaon.
3rd – 11th November
The beginning of November is all about the holidays as it’s the much-awaited, much-loved Diwali break. If you didn’t manage an international vacation in April, put one on the cards now!
Thailand is a great choice, as it’s only a four-hour flight away and is appealing for budget-oriented travelers. We’d suggest skipping tourist hotspots like Bangkok and Pattaya and head to smaller islands like Koh Chang, Chantanburi, and Rayong.
Koh Chang is a large island with pockets of dense forest surrounded by white sandy beaches. The clear waters which fringe it is ideal for snorkeling and diving to discover a bounty of marine life while the island itself allows you to indulge in shopping has great nightlife and several interactive experiences with elephants. Look at the south of the island for pocket-friendly stay options; try the quaint Cliff Cottage or The Buddha View Resort for stunning sea views.
A three-hour drive from Koh Chang is Chanthaburi, a riverside town well known amongst locals for its gems and delectable street food. As it’s off the regular tourist trail, Chanthaburi has beautiful hotels with pocket-friendly tariffs such as the New Travel Lodge Hotel and The Peak Hotel and Resort.
Finish your Thai trip with a drive to Rayong, which has several quiet beaches, a collection of seaside restaurants serving sumptuous seafood as well as bustling marketplaces which sell Thai staples like the durian and mangosteen fruits and local handicrafts.
23rd – 25th November
Are you a coffee lover? Then, spend this weekend sampling some of India’s finest coffees by taking a trip to the Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh. The coffee produced in the valley is grown by local tribal farmers and is lauded across the world for its unique taste. The Valley even has its own coffee museum where you can learn about how growing coffee empowered its inhabitants. There’s also a tribal museum and a beautiful expanse of botanical gardens. Stay at Mountain View Resorts to enjoy – as its name suggests – spectacular views as well as a range of amenities.
Take a few days off before or after Christmas and head to Lepchajagat in West Bengal for a few days of tranquillity. The village is surrounded by a dense forest which fills the air with the scent of pinecones and which is home to a wide variety of birds and small animals. Spend your time taking peaceful walks through the forest or simply enjoying heady Darjeeling tea with a good book. Stay at the WBFDC Nature Resort which promises comfortable rooms, warm hospitality and – most importantly – days of undisturbed relaxation.
So, what say you? Will 2018 be the year of travel? Start planning now and you’ll be sure to find a bunch of early bird deals and discounts. Stay connected with us at TripDukaan; we’d love to help plan a trip that has been carefully curated for you!