The Place Jaisalmer, India.
The Route The closest airport is in Jodhpur, 300 kilometers to the southeast, from which it’s a four-hour drive (or train ride) to Jaisalmer.
Why Now? From February 12 to 14, Rajasthan’s best artists, performers, and entertainers gather on the golden sands of the Thar Desert for the Jaisalmer Desert Festival, a pageant celebrating the state’s rich heritage. Enjoy everything from the cultural (traditional songs, folk dances) to the quirky (a Mr. Desert pageant and a longest-mustache competition).
What Else? One of six Rajasthani citadels on the World Heritage List, Jaisalmer Fort, built of yellow sandstone in the 12th century, is a destination in its own right. Also evocative is Gadi Sagar, an artificial lake lined with small temples and shrines.
Where to Stay Set in the wilderness 40 minutes outside town, The Serai (doubles from US$525) is a luxury desert camp with 21 tented suites (some with plunge pools) and a walled garden spa that uses organic Ayurvedic oils. Camel safaris are among the activities on offer. –Christi Hang
This article originally appeared in the February/March 2014 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Next Stop: All the Raj”)