As you enjoy your holiday time with family and friends, indulge your senses to the fullest with new experiences and lesser known sights. Do a little extra research and travel to places that are exotic, rare and unexplored. It’s simple, think destinations that have inspired, intrigued and fascinated you with its history, culture, cuisine and even mystery. The idea is to bring new travel stories and experiences to the fore. Read along for a quick list of destinations to consider:
A FAMILY OUTING AMIDST SCENIC LANDSCAPES
Nestled between the Pieniny Mountains, which runs through Poland and Slovakia, the Dunajec Gorge is fairly less popular with Indian travellers. The gorge also marks the border with Slovakia. It is one of the best-known tourist attractions in the Pieniny Mountains and ranks on top the getaway lists of locals.
The gorge is characterised by some of the most interesting geological, geomorphological structures and a unique natural ecosystem with little anthropogenic influence. The best way to enjoy its scenic landscape is on a wooden canoe.
The trip begins in the village of Sromowce Katy, and ends in the resort town of Szczawnica, 18 km downstream. The three hour long ride takes you close to the incredible limestone rock formations, which have been created over the years by the force of the water.
During the course of the trip, you’ll also see the picturesque 14th century Niedzica Castle, which sits by the Czorsztyn Lake.
ON A SPIRITUAL SOJOURN
Region: Yangon City, Myanmar
The numerous pagodas that make up the landscape of Mynamar ensure a spiritual detox like none other. Start your journey with the Shwedagon Pagoda, located in the center of Yangon City, and behind its gilded facade sits another world of inner healing.
DIVINE: Visitors and devotees tour Myanmar’s landmark Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
The Pagoda is considered extremely important as per Buddhism; it contains four important relics of Buddha namely – eight strands of Buddha’s hair, a piece of cloth of his attire, a rod and a water pot. Apart from serenity that the structure offers, it is a rich architectural gem.
The Pagoda is covered with over 60 tons of gold and is decked with over 2,317 pieces of gemstone, rubies and diamonds.
On top of the tower sits a 76-carat diamond. Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda in the early evening hours so that you can witness the Pagoda in the golden light of sunset. This is also the best time to observe the spectrum of colours bounce off the diamond mounted on top of the tower from a specific view point.
CART RIDES: The locals in Hsipaw are extremely warm and friendly
At the end of your visit, make sure to take a leaf from the Bodhi Tree back with the hope that it will bring luck and prosperity to the family. After all the temple touring, take in the local sights. Situated in a valley, Hsipaw is a great place for easy day hikes.
Wow factor: With 330,000 pagodas and temple over the country, Myanmar is considered as a country with the most numbers of pagodas and temples in the world.
VISIT AN OLD TOWN TO FLIP THROUGH A CHAPTER OF HISTORY
Region: Tunis, Tunisia
Atrip to Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, equals a time travel expedition. The European style of the ville nouvelle (new town), where French café culture sets the speed of the day, and the Belle Epoque architecture, which lines the ordered streets, sets the contrast to its historic backdrop.
To experience its rich flavour of history, head to Medina, which contains some 700 monuments, including palaces, mosques, mausoleums, madrasas and fountains dating back to the Almohad and the Hafsid periods.
VANTAGE POINTS: Tourists atop a terrace at the Medina (Old Town) of Tunis, Tunisia
Enter from the Porte de France (Bab el-Bahr); history unfolds as you walk the intercepting alleys of Medina, the partially walled old town of Tunis. There is an unparalleled richness in the authenticity that transpires when you see the monuments and souks interspersed with old houses.
Travel tip: When in Tunis, visit the iconic remnants of ancient Carthage. The fabled wealthy seafaring city of the Phoenicians sits in ruins that lie scattered across the Bay of Tunis. The evocative tumbled columns and piles of marble rubble are bordered by a panorama of the Mediterranean Sea, which was so fundamental to the city’s prosperity.
A TRYST WITH NATURE
Region: Schönau am Königsee, Germany
The beauty of Salzburg is known to all. But a little off the track towards Germany lies Schönau am Königsee. Located close enough, Schönau am Königsee sits in the lap of the Berchtesgaden Alps.
Schönau am Königsee is the southeastern most German municipality, bordering on the Austrian state of Salzburg at the Hoher Göll massif and the Steinernes Meer range.
GREEN: Schönau am Königsee offers many such picturesque landscapes
The trails in the area are popular with avid hikers who come seeking the lush landscapes in summers and experience the snow powdered landscape in winters.
With a total of 1,031 trails all around Schoenau am Koenigssee, there are plenty of options for outdoor enthusiasts. You can also enjoy a cycling trail with family during the summer months.
WALK WITH THE PENGUINS
While the icy Antarctica seems to be sheltered from main stream tourists, there are a few offbeat attractions the southernmost continent offers.
Start with walking amidst a colony of Penguins, or sit at arm’s length from a penguin. There aren’t too many places in the world where you can be at arm’s length from thousands of penguins.
ANTARCTICA BLUES: A typically different venue for daredevil photographers
Take a dip at the Deception Bay, a caldera of a volcano and the prime site for going swimming in Antarctica. The water is generally warmer due to the active volcano in the area. The site also serves as home for the world’s largest Chin Strap Penguin Colony.
Next, head to the southernmost post office in the world, located at Port Lockroy, and send a post card to your dear friends back home. The post office overlooks a massive penguin colony and also picturesque icebergs.
Note: Port Lockroy, Antarctica houses the southernmost post office in the world
BASK IN THE BEAUTY OF A SALT WATER LAKE IN THE HIMALAYAS
Region: Namtso Lake, Tibet
Namtso, Tibetan for ‘Heavenly Lake’, is often described as being next to heaven because of its lofty altitude, stunning beauty, pure blue water, and spiritual associations.
It is the highest saltwater lake in the world. Snow-capped mountains and open grassland, dotted with yak herds and local nomads, surround the crystal clear water of Lake Nam, making it one of the most beautiful places in Tibet.
The Namtso Lake is beautiful and scenic. Pose for some great shots here (Pic: Sayvivian)
The lake lies at an elevation of 4,718 m so make sure you are allowing yourself to adapt to the scarce oxygen levels. Also make sure to carry medicines as per prescription for altitude sickness.