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It’s the tourist’s oldest dilemma: remote attractions with few services often offer the most authentic experience of a place, yet there’s much to be said for a comfy bed with room service and a friendly concierge. That’s exactly why we’re recommending a trip to Hampi NOW, just after the opening of its first real luxury hotel (Orange County Luxury Resort)—you’re more likely to enjoy the best of both worlds, before the area’s character is inevitably impacted by the rise in local commercialism.

Like Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, Hampi is the site of an ancient city. The ruined 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire settlement, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, is no less spectacular for its crumbling state—in its heyday, it was one of the largest cities in the world, and today it represents one of the most dazzling collections of temples, monuments and sculptures on the planet. It’s also rumored to be the birthplace of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, so it’s a great place to witness the antics of his descendents.

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