Encounters Asia is an established, family-operated boutique DMC with 30 years’ experience creating exclusive, luxurious journeys into the incredible nature and vibrant cultures of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. We focus on designing one-of-a-kind travel experiences where worth is not measured in amenities. Whether it is through remote festivals, exclusive high-end camping or personal transformational journeys, our trips leave travelers with lifelong memories and excitment for their next experience. Our background in wildlife conservation has taken the meaning of natural history tours to the next level and our commitment to preserving India’s wilderness areas is rooted in over 40 years of conservation efforts by our family.
Encounters Asia’s FIT and small group customized journeys allow travelers an up close and personal view of some of Asia’s most incredible wonders. Our adventures include seeking snow leopards in the frosty Himalayas; jungle safaris to see species like Bengal tigers, leopards, elephants, sloth bears and one-horned rhinos; taking an immersive dive into regional mythology, culture, religion and beliefs; experiencing some of the world’s most vibrant festivals; and exploring delicious culinary traditions.
A country that contains the wonders of a continent! India offers vastly varied wildlife, colorful living cultures and breathtaking landscapes – the world’s largest democracy offers an enormous range of exciting adventures for travelers.
Described by Marco Polo as ‘the finest island in the world,’ Sri Lanka has something to offer for everyone. Rich history and traditions coexist elegantly with the new modern Sri Lanka. The country boasts beautiful nature, wildife and some of the world’s finest tea!
Bhutan & Nepal
Bhutan & Nepal
The Himalayas conjure images of the world’s highest snow-capped peaks, but there is more to the region. Biodiversity is king with regions ranging from the tropics to high alpine. Bhutan and Nepal offer different experiences, but the best of the Himalayas.
The largest cat species on earth, the tiger is an animal of mythology and folklore, but also one that can be seen today. The largest population of the endangered species is found in India, and Encounters Asia offers the best tiger safaris in the country.
Chasing the ‘grey ghost’ in the high Himalaya is not for the impatient or faint of heart. The snow leopard has mastered its harsh and unforgiving environment and the chance to see one in its habitat is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Spirituality and tradition are at the center of life in India and one way for travelers to get a unique view into Indian culture is to visit during a festival. Each month of the year offers the chance to see a colorful and meaningful celebration.
Why Encounters Asia?
Encounters Asia’s boutique DMC team is comprised of enthusiastic and veteran travel connoisseurs focusing on creating exclusive journeys into wonderous destinations in Asia. Working solely with tour operators and travel advisors, we use our expertise in guiding you through the unknowns and make your travelers’ vacation a lifelong memory of magical moments. After understanding each client’s needs and wants, we carefully pick the best suited destinations and experiences, turning their dreams into a beautiful reality.
Encounters Asia focuses on exclusive, luxurious journeys into the myriad colours of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. We also give your travelers an opportunity to feel and experience Asia from close quarters. From the mysterious tiger to the elusive snow leopard, we make encounters with our untamed nature unforgettable. We bring our culture and cities to life by letting guests behind the scenes at festivals, diving deep into our incredible, diverse cuisine and delving into our country’s fascinating history.
Our personalized service means that we will match every adventure to your client’s wishes and personality. From luxurious palaces to boutique hotels, our product expertise allows us to not only match the right property and experience to your traveler, but also to offer incredible value for money. No travel dream is too outlandish for us to make it come true.
Encounters Asia offers myriad adventures in Asia including…
Wildlife safaris – we offer the best, most exclusive wildlife experiences in our national parks. From tigers to one-horned rhino, our expert guides will provide exciting and memorable safaris in our wilderness areas.
India’s festivals – a true behind-the-scenes immersion into India’s cultural and relgious festivals.
Snow leopard spotting – a high altitude adventure that includes a taste of culture, local delicacies, spotting myriad wildlife and of course, the search for the elusive ‘grey ghost’ – the snow leopard.
Culture, history, wildlife and the world’s best tea in Sri Lanka.
Soft trekking and cultural encounters in Nepal.
Helicopter and private plane charters.
Bespoke, ‘you dream it, we create it’ adventures.
Camps & Lodges
Encounters Asia is a full service boutique luxury DMC. We book properties of all kinds throughout the country, from basic to luxury. Additionally, we offer a portfolio of unique lodges and camps in some of India’s premiere national parks. Jamtara Wilderness Camp, Kanha Jungle Lodge and Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge each offer a unique, authentic and eco-friendly jungle safari experience with the chance to see some of India’s most sought-after wildlife, including the tiger. They are among the many special lodging options we can provide for travelers seeking a jungle safari adventure.
Jamtara Wilderness Camp was built to provide an unforgettable experience with sustainability as its cornerstone. Enjoy the ancient forests that once inspired Rudyard Kipling’s stories in The Jungle Book from one of the 10 artistically designed luxury tents or the magical Star Bed. With an ideal location next to the national park and away from crowds (being the only camp in the area), wildlife passes freely through camp. Whether you want to take a walk or a bike ride, expert naturalists will accompany you on your activities to help identify the flora and fauna.
Kanha Jungle Lodge is set in the midst of a rich Sal forest and is well camouflaged in its environment. It was tastefully developed with low impact on the land and the environment. With 18 well appointed rooms and 2 deluxe cottages, it was designed to provide a friendly, informal and relaxed environment with much to observe, understand and learn, and to support conservation. Located close to Kanha National Park (and closest to the Mukki entrance gate), guests can listen to the sounds of the jungle day and night – listening to the alarm calls of the deer or an occasional roar of the tiger.
Located within walking distance of Bandhavgarh National Park’s main gate, Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge was developed on the theme of an Indian village. With fourteen thatched twin-bedded cottages around an inner courtyard, as well as one separate 4-room villa, its tranquil environment invites immersion into the jungle. Fruit trees and bushes have been planted to attract a variety of butterflies, birds and insects. Its proximity to the national park means that spotted deer and the Langur monkey can often be seen in and around the Lodge. It was founded on strong principles of being environmentally friendly and every aspect of its development and operation is sensitively synthesized towards nature conservation.
The grandson of a forest officer and a son of renowned wildlife tour operator, Amit has rambled in the remote forests since he was a month old. Wildlife conservation has remained an integral part of the Sankhala heritage. Shri Kailash Sankhala (Amit’s grandfather) was a celebrated personality in the field of wildlife conservation. He was a distinguished forest officer with the Indian Forest Service and Founder Director of Project Tiger, launched in 1973, acclaimed as the most successful conservation program of that time. He was also the Director of the Delhi Zoological Park and was awarded a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship for his research on the ecology and behaviour of the Indian tiger. Pradeep Sankhala (Amit’s father) a renowned wildlife tour operator, who acquired much of the expertise of his father, successfully developed Kanha and Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodges. Both lodges provide the optimal experience in wildlife travel within India today.
Amit Sankhala has continued the legacy of the Sankhala family by carrying forward the mission of nature conservation and wildlife tourism. As the Managing Director of Encounters Asia., Tiger Resorts Pvt. Ltd and Jamtara Wilderness Camp, Amit has vast knowledge and boundless enthusiasm in the field of tourism which enables him to succeed in his profession. He has had the privilege of experiencing first-hand Rudyard Kipling’s version of the Jungle Book, growing up seeing the national parks of India as they should be and knowing the importance of the country’s flora and fauna. He has also been involved with various innovative projects, such as Tiger Nation, which has created one of biggest databases of Tigers in India. It is a citizen science project whose purpose is to bring attention to the actual number of tigers existing in the wild. He also sits on the board of Wild Landscapes based in the US, whose primary idea is to conserve larger habitats and work on human-animal conflict.
Amit is also a trustee of Tiger Trust, developed in 1989 by his grandfather. The Trust has been educating children on wildlife, setting up medical camps in rural villages surrounding the national parks, working on legal cases against wildlife crime and involved in capacity building programs. To futher understand conservation and how to move forward in his camps and for the wildlife tourism, Amit has traveled and studied other wildlife conservancies, parks, concessions and sanctuaries around the world, from places like Okavango Delta in Botswana to the rain forests of the Panatanal with its jaguars; from the polar bears in the Arctic to the pumas of Chile; mountain gorillas of Uganda to the astonishing underwater life of the Galapagos. His expeditions to see snow leopards have gained popularity amongst the wildlife community and have helped set the standard for others to run these expeditions.
Observing the politics and models of wildlife around the world, he has brought the best of these ideas back to India. One of the models, which he has put to use in his own Jamtara Wilderness Camp, was a community sharing model through one-of-a-kind ‘Star Beds’. Amit has lectured across the world on sustainable and eco-focused tourism.
Discovery Channel and Academy Award-Winning Director Ross Kauffman have recently finished a film on the Sankhala Family called TIGERLAND. It premiered at Sundance and is available on Discovery Go or Amazon Prime. The film is also playing at various film festivals across the world in an effort to raise money for PROJECT CAT (Conserving Acres for Tigers).
Community and Conservation
The contemporary tiger conservation movement in India dates back to the 1960s when Kailash Sankhala raised an alarm about the shocking scale of tiger hunting that was driving the great cat to extinction. He was chosen by Shrimati Indira Gandhi to head the Project Tiger initiative in 1973, right after he had led the country’s first Tiger census. Project Tiger was the biggest conservation program of its time globally. Under his leadership, hunting was banned, reserves were carved out and tiger populations revived. Recognising that public support was crucial if the tiger was to have a future, in 1989 he established Tiger Trust, a not-for-profit organization which continues to be central to the family’s legacy.
This legacy has been carried forward by the third generation, Amit Sankhala. Amit is equally addicted to wildlife, committed to its conservation and has the spirit of an adventurer. His inheritance came with a new set of challenges: nature tourism had evolved, and conservation faced more complex challenges: habitat loss and encroachment, along with escalating human-wildlife conflict. Amit continues to tackle these issues through the Tiger Trust; while also addressing local community concerns like livelihoods through responsible tourism where communities are collaborative partners and local enterprise encouraged.
Along with working with Tiger Trust, Encounters Asia and its sister company Tiger Resorts Pvt. Ltd. (also known as Jungle Lodges), is committed to the TOFT campaign of training field guides resulting in remarkable impacts on improving the standards of field guides and enriching the wildlife experience for clients.