- Sunday Sanctuary
Reset Inspiration #005
Making decisions is hard, especially when it comes to some well deserved R&R. We've taken the hard work out of your holiday planning so you can sit back, relax, and rest assured that we're here to offer a helping hand with some inspiration each month, covering the why, when, and most importantly, where.
Relax: Puerto Escondido - Mexico
When: All Year Round
Puerto Escondido is a tiny paradise, a six hour drive from one of Mexico's most beautiful cities, Oaxaca. The area is a surfer's haven, but even if 20ft waves aren't your thing, the laid back vibe and numerous beaches to be found nearby are perfect for anyone looking to switch off. With mouth-watering local restaurants on every street, alarmingly cheap cervezas, Puerto Escondido has a surprise in store for every kind of traveller. To make it even more magical, visiting in the wet season (which still sees plenty of sunshine) is the best time of year to visit (and swim in!) the area's bioluminescent lagoon at midnight.
If you choose to visit this tiny town, you will likely have to get there from Oaxaca, which is worth a whole week to itself if you have the time. With street markets, world-famous cuisine, and artisanal shops built into the brightly painted colonial architecture there is no going wrong in this fantastic city.
Where to Stay: There are any number of stylish, well-kept hostels and boutique hotels, which are all great places to get local tips and make friends with other travellers.
Culture: Hampi - India
When: October - February
Hampi is a little bit difficult to get to (if you're visiting Goa it will be an overnight bus journey to Hampi either from Anjuna, Vagator, or Palolem), but this gem of a place is a must visit on a trip to Southern India. Undoubtedly one of the country's relatively undiscovered treasures, Hampi is a sprawling heritage site with hundreds of ancient temples to be explored at your own pace.
Star in your own adventure/sci-fi/action movie as the terrain provides a backdrop to your wildest dreams, and cross the Tungabhadra River to reach Hippie Island - a place where backpackers go and consequently never leave. In the mornings, look out for an elephant being treated like a queen as she is bathed by the locals, and keep an eye out for monkeys trying to steal your food, keys, wallet, phone (anything they can get their hands on really). Sunset is one of Hampi's highlights, and due to the region being relatively free of tourists it means that you can watch the sun go down every evening without being jostled (except by monkeys, who seem to enjoy the sunset just as much as we do).
Where to Stay: There are plenty of family-run hotels in Hampi, but given that it is a heritage site do not expect modern luxury. The locals are very welcoming and many offer free or cheap breakfasts, as well as organising tours and giving you tips for the local area.
Adventure: Ella - Sri Lanka
When: December - April
Ella is an adventurer's paradise. Getting there from Kandy by train is described as one of the most beautiful train journeys on the planet - but make sure to buy a first class ticket (around £15) to avoid standing for the 7 hour journey if you don't manage to grab a seat. Once you arrive in the town you'll be struck by just how welcoming it is; despite being a touristic hot-spot, Ella manages to retain its sense of self and has successfully avoided becoming over-commercialised, whilst also providing plenty of activity - from stylish bars and restaurants, to cooking classes and tours of the area.
Some of the most famous adventures in the area include walking along the rail line to see nine-arches bridge, climbing Ella Rock, and hiking Adam's Peak. Other activities include a visit to Rawana falls, Ravana's Cave, and Nil Diya Pokuna. And when you're wiped out from all the adventure, you can take a bus down to the coast and chill out by the sea.
Where to Stay: Ella is extremely affordable and caters to any budget, from hilltop hotels with incredible vistas, to homely home-stays with locals that provide some of the kindest hospitality. You can't really go wrong, but if you want to be close to the action we recommend staying within walking distance to the main strip.