In today’s hyper-connected and quickly globalising world, a retreat into remoteness can be the finest amenity that travel has to offer. But where can you turn to really get away from it all? And when you get there, will you still have somewhere to spend the night?
We’ve searched our WHL Group network for the most far-flung and off-the-beaten-path lodging we could find. Far more than hotels, these unique places to lay your head offer a full travel experience. Many even require a series of local transport adventures to reach them. Each one is worth the effort from the moment you leave home. Imagine dropping farther and farther off the radar into an immersive experience with local people set in dramatic natural environs. Paradise.
Tathagata Farm near Darjeeling, India
Getting to Tathagata Farm from Bagdogra was an amazing and unforgettable experience. After flying from Kolkata to Bagdogra in the northeast of India, I took a fun ride on one of the ubiquitous Tata jeeps up the Lesser Himalaya hills. The narrow and intense road offers great views of the mountain range and tea plantations, and I was lucky to do this whole adventure during the golden hours of sunset. After getting to Darjeeling, I took an extra 45-minute drive to get to the farm in Mineral Spring, a nearby rural area. Tathagata Farm was a great find, offering good local food handpicked from the garden and a very friendly team.
Jean’s Home in Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands
Jean’s Home is a delightful hideaway on the Galapagos Islands. Whilst getting there may be quite the adventure, the journey is undoubtedly worth it. It’s a 1000-kilometre flight from Ecuador’s mainland, followed by a number of bus and ferry rides, as the location of this eco-friendly hotel is accessible by boat ferry only. Jean’s Home has a beautiful garden and friendly owner, Gundi, who runs the hotel in memory of her friend Jean, who built it in the 1970s. Jean’s Home ensures a wonderfully blissful stay in a lesser-known corner of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands.
~ Martha Crowley, Digital Content Editor at Yacu Amu Experiences, the whl.travel local partner in Galapagos Islands
Naxi Homestay in NanYao Village near Lijiang, China
My favourite lodge is Naxi Homestay, located in NanYao village near Lijiang, in the south of China. It was built in traditional Naxi style, which consists of three wood-and-plaster buildings with stone foundations. In the middle of the family home is a small open space filled with fruit trees, fragrant flowers and ornamental plants. A mountain spring with its source on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain flows into outside yards’ canals. Farm animals, like chickens and pigs, wander around too. From the second floor of the house, there’s a great view of Lashi Lake, which is surrounded by farmlands and villages hiding in the shade of the dense trees.
When you stay in Naxi Homestay, you can hear the quiet sounds of running water, birds singing in the trees, dogs barking and roosters crowing in the early morning. The hospitable family cooks great Naxi foods and serves fresh fruit from the garden. It’s an incredible opportunity to experience Naxi daily life in peaceful and natural surroundings.
Terthorja Guesthouse in the Alps of Northern Albania
The mountain region in the north of Albania isn’t easy to reach. But once you hop on the Lake Koman ferry and then trek the mountain pass between the villages of Valbona and Theth, you will be rewarded with the hospitality of the village guesthouses. In the village of Theth, two of the most popular lodges are Nika Guesthouse and Terthorja Guesthouse. Adventures into the northern region are possible any time of the year, but the village guesthouses are perhaps at their finest in the late summer and autumn.
Tabon Te KeeKee Ecolodge in Kiribati
Of all the far-flung islands of the Pacific, Kiribati is perhaps one of the tiniest and most remote. Its many atolls span the equator in the middle of the vast Pacific. The only way to get there is by flight connects in Fiji or Honolulu, making Kiribati a very off-the-beaten-path and virtually un-touristed place. Facing South Tarawa on the southern end of the islet of Abatao sits the Tabon Te KeeKee Ecolodge. The ecolodge itself is a short canoe trip from the end of the main road, so be warned – once you travel such a great distance to arrive, and once you’ve sunk into a hammock alongside the turquoise waters of the sea, you may never want to leave!
~ Karotu Tannang, the Hotel Link Solutions local partner in Kiribati