So what are you doing over the last week of the year? We rounded up the best offers, the secret getaways and the parties you don’t want to be missing in India.
Countdown to 2010: Bikers on the Mumbai-Goa coastal cycling tour. Free Spirit
• Free Spirit, the weekend activity arm of Countryside Adventure Holidays, has a Mumbai-Goa coastal cycling tour planned over 10 nights and nine days, from 25 December to 2 January. The actual cycling part of the trip is contained to the section between Murud Janjira and Tiracol, averaging around 50km per day. For Rs16,900 per person, Free Spirit will take care of accommodation at camps and home-stays, Mumbai-Murud Janjira and Tiracol-Mumbai travel, all meals, helmets, jerseys, back-up vehicles, et al. The last date for signing up is 22 December. Go to www.countrysideindia.com
• Living in Bangalore but can’t bear the idea of spending Christmas in the city? Head out to a secret destination 250km away in the Western Ghats with Getoffurass. An “easy style” trip, Santosh Kumar of Getoffurass says it’s customizable any way you want: Go trekking, picnic by a pool, go birdwatching, or explore the jungle. Choose to camp or stay in an open bungalow (no dedicated rooms, though) bang in the middle of an 8,000 acre estate surrounded by reserve forest. The trip runs 25-27 December (there’s a chance departure may happen late on 24 December) and costs Rs4,800 per head, inclusive of dedicated transport, all food, camping equipment, cook and guide. Call Kumar on 09845442224 or go to www.getoffurass.com for details.
• If that sounds like too much work, head to the Amanvana spa, on the banks of the Kaveri in Coorg. About 230km from Bangalore, this seven-acre property has 18 bungalows and a massage hut that overlooks the river. The spa has a 30-strong treatment menu. For this season, Amanvana has a two-night/three-day package for Rs24,999 for a couple, inclusive of a candlelight dinner near the river, special cooking classes in the open, and a picnic lunch on an island. For details, go to www.amanvanaspa.com or call 08276-279354/5.
• If you are in Delhi, to get away from it all, head to Camp River n Range on the Ganga, 28km from Rishikesh. Alongside bonfires and barbecues, the three-day getaway, organized by TopCamp, packs in a 10-hour forest trek, rock-climbing, rappelling and rafting, not to mention parties that continue into the night on 25 and 31 December. Available as Christmas (25-27 December) and New Year (31 December-2 January) packages, the trip costs Rs9,999 per couple if you drive down to the camp in your vehicle and Rs11,499 if you use TopCamp transportation. For details visit www.thetopcamp.com or call Baljit on 09212186719 or Punit on 09350991750.
• Or move further north, to Nathuakhan, near Nainital, where the Ek Chidiya Holiday Home promises a Christmas you won’t forget, complete with a real chimney. The 25-27 December weekend will be replete with the aromas of home-cooking and the freshness of mountain air. Arrive on Christmas Day to lunch or tea, followed by an indoor party and buffet dinner. Boxing Day begins with a tree-planting and buffet breakfast, succeeded by a trek and a drive down to Mukteshwar for lunch, a visit to a local NGO and a movie and dinner by the fireside. The package costs Rs5,500 per person on double occupancy for two nights; children below 5 go free, while those between 5 and 12 are charged Rs3,500. Go to www.ekchidiya.com or call 09810169522 for details.
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