Remote Lands, the world’s leading luxury travel designer offering bespoke journeys to Asia, has announced a series of unusual events, festivals, and celebrations taking place in 2009, for which the company can provide high-end, personalized holidays. Starting at $1,000 per person per day, not including airfare, Remote Lands will arrange for their clients to travel to some of Asia’s most fascinating locations, and be an integral part of the festivities that make this continent so colorful and extraordinary.
Following is a calendar of events for 2009. Private jet charters, helicopters, VIP audiences, and personal staff including chefs, trainers, masseuses and other professionals can be arranged at additional cost.
January: Visitors to the Philippines can celebrate the start of 2009 at the “Mardi Gras” of Asia; the Ati-Atihan Festival is celebrated in the town of Kalibo and is a smorgasbord of pagan and Christian rituals. Although the festival is two weeks long, the last three days of colorful parades draw the largest groups of revelers, all wearing eccentric costumes and face paint. Clients of Remote Lands can join in on the fun when they travel to the Philippines from January 15-17 by meeting with villagers to create elaborate headdresses and accessories out of shells, feathers, bamboo, and sugar cane flowers, and becoming a part of the main procession of dancers, musicians and drummers, leading into Kalibo’s cathedral.
February: One of the most pleasant months to visit India is also the month that the largest dance festival in the country occurs. Vasantahabba, held in Bangalore from February 7-9, celebrates all forms of classical Indian dance; troupes from every province come to the city in an effort to preserve and spread their culture through this joyous event that lasts from dusk until dawn. Guests will engage in the rare opportunity of learning various forms of dance from India’s best performers and teachers, and then join the thousands of celebrants dancing until sunrise.
March: The Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival is the greatest assemblage of writers from all over the world and will be held from March 8-18. Past participants have included Ian McEwan, Kiran Desai, Madhur Jaffrey, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Simon Winchester. Clients of Remote Lands will have VIP passes to all festival events, and enjoy the company of various writers for private cocktail hours or dinners throughout their stay in Hong Kong.
April: The Miao “Sisters” Festival in China’s Guizhou province is held on the 15th day of the third month of the lunar calendar and reveals an antiquated form of courtship. For three days, Miao girls wear elaborately embroidered clothing and large silver headdresses and perform traditional song and dance while their male counterparts show off their horseback-riding mastery. Each boy sings to his chosen partner, and she in turn offer a ball of sticky rice with a message inside declaring her feelings towards him. Clients of Remote Lands are welcome to dress in Miao clothing and take part in the festivities.
May: This month, Remote Lands will arrange for clients to travel to Malaysia where, in the tropical reefs of Miri, guests will enjoy the annual Miri Underwater Treasure Hunt, that takes place at the end of the month. Diving conditions are at their best during this time, and divers will search for hidden clues tucked away in wrecks, shark points, and corals. For those who would prefer to treasure-hunt on their own, Remote Lands can organize a private underwater treasure-hunt, based on clients’ specifications. Only a half day’s drive from Brunei, Miri is also close to some of the world’s most amazing national parks. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the caves of Gunung Mulu and Niah, as well as hiking through the nearby Lambir Hill national park, which boasts a virgin tropical rainforest and bio-diversity that will thrill any eco-tourist.
June: Guests will fly to the fairytale kingdom of Bhutan for the Nimalung Tsechu Festival in Bumthang, held towards the end of the month. Although there are many “tsechus” or festivals in Bhutan throughout the year, all celebrating events in the Buddha’s life, this one from June 30-July 2 is the most spectacular as it involves dances performed by both monks and lay persons in brilliant costumes and painted masks. The celebration takes place in a dzong, or fortress, and culminates in the unfurling of a giant tapestry of Guru Rimpoche, the “second Buddha” who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, alongside one wall of the dzong. One look at the tapestry is said to bring enlightenment to the most ardent Buddhists. A bespoke scale replica of the tapestry will be made especially for Remote Lands’ clients who participate in this event, a priceless keepsake of this sacred rite.
July: The Naadam Festival is the most important Mongolian holiday, and is a wonderful time to experience the cultures and people of this extraordinary land. Guests of Remote Lands will have the best seats in the Naadam Stadium where the festivities will take place from July 10-12. These will include an opening ceremony, featuring marches and music from soldiers from the Mongol Army, monks, and athletes. Following, guests will enjoy demonstrations of horse racing, wrestling and archery – the three sporting passions of the Mongolian people. Remote Lands will arrange for their clients to be closely attended to during the events, with beverages and other refreshments. Accompanying guests to the event will be important local dignitaries and other high-profile individuals, who will entertain guests with stories about their country’s history and explain the events unfolding before them.
August: Guests of Remote Lands will have a truly authentic experience when they travel to Papua New Guinea from August 18-22, for the Mount Hagen Festival. Introduced in the 1950’s by English missionaries to encourage peace between warring tribes, the Festival consists of different tribes dressed in colorful costumes, having a friendly ‘competition’ to determine which tribe is the best and the most powerful. Elaborate dance rituals and feats of strength and agility are performed to determine the winning tribe. Afterwards, guests will be invited to the home of a tribe leader, to have a meal with his family and chat with the local people.
September: ShContemporary, the annual Contemporary Art Fair held in Shanghai from September 10-13, will be an ideal event for art aficionados. Held at the spectacular Shanghai Exhibition Center, the event creates an intriguing dialogue between the East and West’s art scenes. More than 100 world-class galleries representing over 20
countries will participate in this important event, juxtaposing the best art of the East with top picks from the Western world. Remote Lands’ clients will have private, after-hours tours of some of Shanghai’s most renowned art galleries, and audiences with famed artists, who will lead guests through a tour of their works.
October: One of the most famous festivals in Myanmar (Burma) is the Elephant Dance Festival, which is centered in the village of Kyauk-se between Mandalay and Yangon (Rangoon). The celebration involves a procession of giant paper pachyderms, held aloft by two men inside that purposefully move the elephant to the beat of processional music. Remote Lands’ clients will have the honor of manning the head elephant and leading the parade, culminating in a celebratory dinner at the village head’s home.
November: Vietnam’s Oc Om Boc Festival and Ngo Boat Contest is an annual event dedicated to the moon, to request abundant crops and rivers full of fish, as well as good health for all the villagers. The ceremonies, which take place in mid-November, include prayers, traditional methods of worship, music and dance. The highlight of the festival is the boat race, contested in traditional ngo boats, that signals the end of the celebrations. Those traveling with Remote Lands will be invited to view the proceedings from a comfortable, river-side pagoda, where they will be guests of honor of a prominent local family. Following, they will enjoy a traditional, multi-course meal with the family, who will regale guests with colorful stories about local life and Vietnamese culture.
December: Remote Lands’ clients can end the year by traveling to Nepal in the first week of December, where they will be the guests of honor during the country’s annual World Elephant Polo Championships. An invitational event held for over 25 years, the championship includes teams representing a wide variety of countries and sponsors. Elephant polo, which was first played in India at the turn of the 20th century by members of the King’s court, has been recreated for modern times by the World Elephant Polo Association. Guests will enjoy the championship games which will be followed by a luncheon during which clients will interact with the event’s organizers and top players. An evening cocktail event to fete the winners will be a fitting end to the event.
For inquiries, reservations, and additional information, please call (646) 415-8092 or visit www.remotelands.com.
About Remote Lands:
Remote Lands, Inc., the world’s foremost luxury bespoke travel provider focused exclusively on Asia, is based in midtown Manhattan with a logistics office in Bangkok. The company specializes in extraordinary experiences in magical, far-flung destinations and insider access to exceptional people and exclusive events. The venture capital-backed company was founded by seasoned business and travel entrepreneurs Catherine Evans Heald and Jay Tindall, both of whom have lived, worked and traveled all over the world. Remote Lands actively promotes socially responsible tourism that strives to bring an understanding of other cultures and helps to preserve their way of life. Ten percent of the company’s profits go directly to local charities in developing countries. For more information, please visit www.remotelands.com.