Luxury tour operator Remote Lands is presenting The Bensley Trail, a 14-day tour through South-east Asia that includes accommodation in resorts designed by Bill Bensley, a private soiree in the architect’s personal home in Bangkok, and more.
The Bensley Trail, taking place from February 16 to March 1, 2020, costs US$37,888 per person based on double occupancy, with places limited to 16 guests.
“I am passionate about conservation and helping folks and animals in need, and my inspiration in developing this trip was to use hospitality to help people that need it in a sustainable fashion,” said Bensley.
“We will be working with the Shinta Mani Foundation, which aims to enhance the lives and livelihood of people in the communities where they operate, to help families in a rural Cambodian village, providing quality water, a hospitality school and youth dentistry programmes.”
Laos: glamping, Buddhism, and more
The journey begins in Laos at Bensley’s Rosewood Luang Prabang resort, the former estate of French colonial civil servant and diplomat Auguste Pavie, and the first luxury villa and tent resort within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang.
Nestled in the Nahm Dong Valley, the 23-room resort is centred around a natural waterfall and has a Laotian-French tropical architectural style. While spending three nights here, travellers will get the chance to explore Laos, experiencing the nature and wildlife as they interact with elephants at the MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary, cruise downstream on the Mekong River and enjoy a temple walk with Rosewood’s resident Buddhism expert.
For cultural immersion, guests will also get the chance to participate in a farm-to-table cooking lesson at Rosewood, receive a blessing at the Wat Mai monastery, discover the cultural sites and attractions of Luang Prabang, participate in an alms giving ceremony and stroll the Hmong Night Market, shopping for textiles and other handmade creations.
Cambodia: bring clean water to rural communities, zipline arrival to resort, and more
Participants will then make their way to Cambodia where they will stay in two different properties in the Bensley Collection, including the Shinta Mani Siem Reap in Angkor, a private villa resort which offers a serene escape from the bustle while located close to the popular attraction; and the new Shinta Mani Wild, a 15-tent luxury adventure camp in the heart of the Cambodian jungle which plays a role in protecting a small part of Cardamom National Park.
As part of the collaboration with the Shinta Mani Foundation, a portion of the proceeds from this trip will go towards building a water well in the name of each guest in a remote Cambodian village, which provides a family and its immediate neighbours with easily accessible hand pumped clean water.
In Siem Reap, highlights include exploring the iconic Angkor Wat; visiting the rural Cambodian village where the constructed water wells are being built to meet the families whose lives have been impacted by these donations; enjoying a private temple dinner complete with gourmet Khmer cuisine and a traditional Cambodian dance performance; taking a helicopter tour over Siem Reap; and visiting the Conservatoire of Aspara Dance, which began as part of a humanitarian effort to deliver the essentials to the rural areas of Cambodia.
Following Siem Reap, the group will head to the Cambodia wild in Southern Cardamom National Park. Guests arrive to the resort on zipline, and during their stay may choose from the range of activities offered by the resort including Jeep safaris, motorbiking, boating, indigenous cooking lessons, visiting the naturalist’s research center, viewing wildlife and more. Guests can enjoy the Boulder Spa, alfresco dining or a cocktail party in Shinta Mani Wild’s Land Rover Bar, a WWII vehicle reimagined as a mobile bar.
Bangkok: meet the man himself, get spiritual ink, and more
The group will next head to Thailand’s metropolitan capital of Bangkok, where they will check into the brand new Rosewood Bangkok, an urban retreat in the heart of the city and the only non-Bensley designed property on the Bensley Trail.
This part of the journey includes an exclusive soiree at Bill Bensley’s private home, an exclusive hard hat tour of Bensley’s latest project by the river led by Bensley himself, exploring the Buddhist temples and shrines of the city, discovering authentic neighbourhoods, cruising on a private long-tail boat along the Chao Praya River, a Muay Thai lesson, and receiving an optional sank yant tattoo, a traditional form of tattooing magical ancient geometric and deity symbols with Buddhist prayers onto the body.
Vietnam: unscripted journey complete with personal driver and guide
The itinerary ends in Danang for three days of beachside relaxation after an adventure-packed trip. The final resort on The Bensley Trail is the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. Participants will spend the final days at leisure, enjoying the resort’s luxurious facilities or heading offsite for a city excursion.
On this expedition, all touring is private and each guest or couple will have their own private car, driver and guide for all airport transfers and touring, along with highly personalised and customisable itineraries.