China’s colossal size, lightning-fast development and language hurdles means a holiday to China can be hard to tackle as an independent traveller. But travelling in China need not be daunting, and Ampersand’s tailor-made holidays to China provide just the right amount of self-exploration and guided touring, combining ultra-luxury at the very best hotels, local experiences at boutique hotels, with cultural adventures accompanied by truly incredible and knowledgeable guides.
Burma (also known as Myanmar) is a cultural gold mine: the Bagan plains are strewn with thousands of temple ruins stretching as far as the Irrawaddy River; Mandalay and Yangon are heaving with colonial buildings and glittering stupas; Inle Lake is a place of heart-stopping beauty where no electricity flows; and the gorgeous golden sands of Ngapali provide a quirky Myanmar beach holiday to complete your adventure.
The tropical south has a different pace to the rest of India, it is slow and soothing, much like the idyllic backwaters of Kerala – South India’s answer to North India’s iconic Taj Mahal. Renowned for its welcoming people, lush scenery, delicious Indian cuisine and distinctive gopuram temples, South India holidays are the perfect option if you are looking for a relaxing, yet culturally stimulating escape. Its spiritual cliff-backed beaches are ideal for a meditative break on an Indian getaway and some of the country’s finest Ayurvedic medicine is practiced in the laid-back spas and resorts of this region.
In the globe’s Southeast Asia, Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago with more than 17,000 islands, and so it can be a mine-field when choosing where to visit on a holiday to Indonesia. A tailor-made Indonesia holiday will ensure you are visiting the spots that are best suited to your needs. There is much to choose from: sleek retreats surrounded by rice paddies, volcanic views and crashing rivers in Bali’s cultural heart, Ubud, or wind down at a spectacular beach resort or luxury villa. Beyond Bali’s shores there is a plethora of other options to explore: Java, Lombok, Komodo Island in Komodo National Park, the Gili Islands, Sumba Island, Sulawesi and Raja Ampat, all with an expert travel guide. Indonesia also has some fabulous traditional phinisi boats for luxury sailing adventures in her remote eastern seas, which are perfect for scuba diving enthusiasts.
Land-locked and utterly alluring, Laos has a laid-back pace and some of the friendliest and welcoming people you will meet in Asia. In Luang Prabang, ribbons of orange-robed monks receive alms at dawn whilst the far south centres around the mighty Mekong Delta with its remote fishing communities and dense jungle, disturbed occasionally by crashing elephants and trilling birds.
In comparison to its neighbours, Thailand has had a relatively peaceful history and has developed at a faster pace than the rest of Southeast Asia. However, it is the country's natural charms that enchant visitors, and the one that leaves the most lasting impression is the Thai people themselves. The majority of the population are Theravada Buddhists and for most Thais, their religion influences every aspect of their lives from work to play. Another major influence on daily life is the guiding light of Thai Royal family, in particular the late King Rama IX (1927 – 2016), who was revered and loved throughout the Kingdom.
Luxury is in the experience
We love luxury and style at Ampersand Travel, but we also love to engage with our destination. If that means the odd bumpy road or eccentric hotel in order to see something truly special, that's fine by us. Most of our clients agree (they know that luxury isn't far away, after all), and for those that don't, we are happy to arrange super-luxe holidays from start to finish.
Founder & Managing Director of Ampersand Travel
We're always re-visiting our destinations. Visit Ampersand's blog here to find out the latest news hot off the press.
Hot off the press from our favourite destinations
A luxury holiday in Japan wouldn’t be complete without a stay at a boutique ryokan. These traditional inns are Japan’s version of the spa hotel – exquisite multi-course kaiseki Japanese meals, renowned omotenashi hospitality and even luxurious hot spring baths on your own private balcony. A ryokan stay is also a great opportunity to see more than most visitors to Japan do, as the best ones tend to be off the beaten track in small historic towns or charming rural areas.
If you're after a cultural 2019 winter escape nothing beats Sri Lanka's historic forts and temples or India's heady exoticism for a blast of balmy winter sunshine. For those looking to dip their toes into the azure waters of Southeast Asia, the vast archipelago of Indonesia is white hot from December to March and holds endless treats for tropics-lovers, and winter is also a fantastic time to visit Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Click here to see our Top 10 suggestions...
There are so many things to juggle in the run up to your wedding – let us remove the stresses of organising your honeymoon as well; this is one trip you'll want to get absolutely spot on! Having personally seen all the places we recommend, and with over a decade in designing tailor-made honeymoons to Asia under our belt, you can rely on us to create a romantic and entirely bespoke journey for you and your new spouse. Click here to see a few romantic journeys we love...
The Bespoke Luxury Travel Experts
At Ampersand we believe that ‘luxury is in the experience’: whilst we love travelling in style, we’re not afraid to step off the usual circuit in order to experience something exceptional. We specialise in exclusive, luxury tailor-made holidays that are perfect for honeymoons, cultural tours, family trips, wildlife adventures, sabbaticals and multi-generational holidays.
Since 2003 we have established ourselves as a leader in creating luxury tailor-made tours to the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and the Far East. And in keeping with our desire to share the places we know and love best, we are thrilled to add Africa and the British Isles to our portfolio of destinations.
Our clients are mostly private individuals who recognise that time is their most precious asset and want to entrust it to experts with a well proven track record. This smoothes out the planning process and ensures that they have the most rewarding and memorable experience possible. We also look after some of the world’s most acclaimed museums and organisations who rely on us to arrange once in a lifetime small group tours for their most important patrons.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Leslie Siben, India