Founded more than 20 years ago by a team of passionate adventurers, Secret Planet is a tour operator like no other. Its creed? To incorporate the skills of three leaders in tailormade holidays, Saïga, Tamera and Expéditions Unlimited, into a new form of luxury focusing on rarity and the splendour of the peoples encountered. From holidays offering a complete immersion among people who are passionate about protecting nature to the discovery of ethnic groups and distant lands, as well as hiking in the company of experienced explorers, here’s a brief overview of a handful of dream holidays within your reach.

Iran | Treasures of Persia

Go right to the heart of ancient Persia by visiting Isfahan, Yazd, Persepolis and Shiraz. Thanks to their monuments and art of living, these towns have preserved the heritage passed down to them by a succession of dynasties and monarchs who fought over this land to establish blue mosques and splendid mausoleums. Spend time dawdling in the bazaars. From caravanserais to Zoroastrian fire temples, and spiritual gardens, discover the evidence of the trade, artistic and poetic activities of this nation whose traditional hospitality is still alive today.

8 days | € 1 850 | Departures from June to December 2014

Canada | Descend the Yukon in a canoe, in complete autonomy

On this rare expedition, open to people who are in good physical shape with plenty of experience in canoeing, Christophe Marie, a specialist in the Canadian Far North, helps you to relive the history of the trappers and gold diggers of the Klondike in the 19th century. Paddle up the Yukon River towards the north over a distance of 700 km, from Whitehorse to Dawson, and discover the magnificent wildlife: bears, lynx, moose... Your main diet will consist of what you’ve fished and hunted. You will cross abandoned villages such as Selkirk, Hoottalingua and Big Salmon. Spend time with the Tuchtone Indians and learn how to smoke salmon and dry meat. When night falls, you can dream beneath the canopy of heaven and spend the nights under canvas.

20 days | € 3 750 | One departure date 31 August 2014

Great Asiatic Caravan, from Lhasa (Ti bet) to the is land of Siberut (Indonesia)

Cross the immensity of the continent of Asia, from north to south, from central Tibet to the Indonesian island of Siberut. We will take you in search of a myriad of ethnic groups, pilgrimages, holy places and the remains of great civilisations. The 2014 Great Asiatic Caravan will leave Lhasa, in central Tibet, on 9 September and will end on 10 February 2015, returning from the Indonesian island of Siberut. You can take part in the full trip or one or more of the fifteen stages on offer.

From 20 to 155 days | From € 3 100 to 24 550 | From 9 September 2014 to 10 February 2015

South China | Grand tour of south Yunnan

With a strong focus on meeting ethnic groups, this trip begins in the region of Funing, in the far east of Yunnan, and onto Xishuangbanna, the land of the Wa, and Dehong, travelling along a large part of the Vietnamese border, followed by the borders of Laos and Burma. You will meet these many ethnic groups in the big markets which take place in the villages, according to the Chinese astrological calendar, every five days or weekly. You will meet several ethnic groups, such as the Miao, Yao, Yi, Wa and Dai, Hani, Zhuang, Bulang, De’Ang, Jingpo and Achang.

From 18 to 37 days | From € 2 900 to 4 150 | Departures from September 2014 to March 2015

Nepal | From Lower Dolpo to the enigmatic Lake Rara

This is an exceptional 22-day hike leaving from west Dolpo, between the Dhaulagiri Massif and the Tibetan plateau, to the magnificent Lake Rara. After only a week of walking, you will already be rewarded with an incredible view: to the west, Shey Shikar (6 100 m), Salkang (6 000 m) and Kanjiroba (6 600 m); to the east, Dhaulagiri (8 167 m); and to the north, the Mustang valley! Finally, you will reach the magical setting of one of the most beautiful high-altitude lakes in Nepal: Lake Rara. Surrounded by high peaks and forests, contemplate the enigmatic beauty of this paradise of Himalayan fauna and flora.

27 days | € 4 450 | Departures from October to November 2014 and from March to April 2015

Vietnam | Great trek north Vietnam

We will be making a long and magnificent trek, mainly on foot, across the region of Can Yen and Bao Lac (in the east) towards the region of Bac Ha and Muong Khuong (in the west), across High Tonkin, along the Chinese border. There are two main hikes: from the region of Cao Bang to the region of Ha Giang (forgotten footpaths of High Tonkin, 16 days), and trekking in the region of Ha Giang to the region of Bac Ha (15 days). You will discover a number of weekly ethnic markets at the end of the trip, such as that of Can Cau, Pha Long and Muong Khuong.

23 days | € 2 550 | Departures from October 2014 to April 2015

Burma | Burmese medley

These hikes take you to the land of the Karen, to Kyaikhtiyo Golden Rock, and to Kakku and Pindaya, in the region of Inle Lake, to meet ethnic groups and visit weekly markets. Also discover the regions of Bagan, Mandalay and Yangon, and sail down the rivers Irrawaddy and Salouen to complete this Burmese medley in search of a myriad of ethnic groups. Special “monsoon” trip from June to September.

19 days | € 3 750 | Departures from October 2014 to April 2015

Ethiopia | Sheikh Hussein pilgrimages

In the remote regions of eastern Ethiopia, the small village of Sheikh Hussein is filled with excitement twice a year during the Oromo pilgrimages, which bring together the Ethiopian people. Here you will find Muslims, Christians and animists who have come to honour the Saint, who originally introduced Islam to the region. Hospitality and generosity reign over these days, where you will share intense and moving moments with the pilgrims. Then off to explore the vast labyrinthine caves of Sof Omar and to hike through the wild and beautiful nooks and crannies of the Bale Massif, before joining the Rift Valley for some fantastic walks through the areas surrounding lakes Abyata and Shalla.

12 days | € 2 250 | One departure date 28 September 2014

North Vietnam | Princesses of the mountain with Christian Vérot

The finest landscapes are hidden in the mountains of north-west Vietnam. Jungles shrouded in mist roll down the hillsides. On the slopes sculpted with rice fields, you will meet ethnic groups continuing the ancestral traditions. The women make their costumes and wear them under all circumstances, offering visitors a feast of colours. Glowing with elegance and beauty, Christian has nicknamed them the princesses of the mountain. Instead of visiting the popular tourist sites, we will take you to remote villages to visit fairs and markets. We shall be sleeping in hamlets where we share the simplicity of the everyday life of our hosts and experience the activities of this timeless rural world.

From 14 to 22 days | From € 3 450 to 3 750 | One departure date 16 November 2014

Panama | Coast to coast

1513... Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovered an unknown sea that he called the southern sea, later renamed the Pacific by Magellan in 1520. During this exceptional expedition, we shall walk in the footsteps of Balboa and his small army of conquistadors. We shall leave from the land of the Kuna Indians, on the Atlantic coast, to join Darién, the Embera and the Pacific coast. We will cross the jungle by foot and the Chucunaque or the Meteti in a pirogue, to reach the Gulf of San Miguel. Thankfully lighter than our illustrious ancestors since we won’t be wearing armour, we shall advance under the guidance of our Indian friends. Very tricky to organise from a logistical and administrative point of view, this rare coast-to-coast trip is arranged without any mechanical means.

13 days | € 4 750 | One departure date March 2015

Great Amerindian Caravan | From Santiago de Chile to Cartagena

Populated by numerous Indian ethnic groups and landlocked communities at the heart of the Andes, South America offers us an odyssey lasting more than four months. We shall encounter these peoples and share their ancestral customs and their life forged by the harsh climate. It is possible to take part in the entire trip or just participate in one or more of the nine stages on offer.

From 13 to 122 days | From € 2 850 to 34 450 | From 7 March to 22 June 2015

Spitzberg | Total eclipse

After preparing and acclimatising to our equipment in the area surrounding Longyearbyen, we shall leave for a completely autonomous five-day expedition to the Norwegian island. We will use skis to cross the wild environment surrounding the Isfjorden. Here, we are in the kingdom of the polar bear. Accompanied by a real polar explorer, we shall familiarise ourselves with the sublime and hostile environment. In this part of the world in winter, you will be sleeping in the shelter of your tent. This exceptional programme can also serve as a preparation for an expedition to the North Pole. A date has been scheduled to coincide with a solar eclipse, expected on 20 March 2015.

8 days | € 4 950 | One departure date 14 March 2015