Because it’s never too early to plan exciting getaways off-the-beaten track.
Image: Lightfoot Travel
With its state-of-the-art airport opening next year, new roads being built across the countryside as well as big hotel groups entering the market, Mongolia is one to watch. Ride Bactrian camels across the dramatic desert landscape and immerse in the authentic nomadic homestay experience spending the night in a “ger” (traditional Mongolian felt tents).
To get knee-deep in Mongolia wilderness, visit ice-filled gorge Yolyn Am (literally translates to valley of vultures or eagles). If you’re lucky, you might just spot rabbit-like pikas raising heads from burrows, argali sheep and ibex picking their way across sheer cliffs, and lammergeyer wheeling above searching for carrion. Bonus tip: Visit in July to witness Mongolia’s centuries-old tradition “three manly sports” (Naadam Festival), which features wrestling, horse racing, and archery.
It’s high-time the country in the Middle East shakes off its “bad reputation” and we want in on the hype. Since International sanctions were lifted following a nuclear deal with world powers, Iran is now touted as one of the most culturally rich and colourful countries in the world among avid travelers. Home to 21 Unesco World Heritage Sites, bespoke luxury tour operator Lightfoot Travel praises it for being an open-air museum brimming with architectural wonders and bustling bazaars, rural mountain villages and ever-evolving landscapes.
History and archaeology buffs can catch a glimpse of the past at the ancient ruined city of Persepolis. Reminiscent of when the Persian Empire reigned supreme, it’s located northeast of the city of Shiraz and said to have been built by Darius I in the Sixty Century BC. For a dreamy must-visit hit: Badab-e Surt springs, terraced travertine hot springs in the Mazandaran province. It’s extraterrestrial.
First things first, given Lhasa’s altitude of over 3,400 metres, factor in a day or more to acclimatise when you arrive. Seriously, don’t exert yourself. One of the highest cities in the world, the capital of Tibet Lhasa has been dubbed “Place of the Gods”.
Roam the majestic red and white Potala Palace and watch monks engaging in lively debates at Sera Monastery. For a slice of nature, explore the electric blue Yamdrok Lake, one of Tibet’s three largest sacred lakes. Here, keep your peepers peeled for yaks and pilgrims.
Times are changing in the Caribbean island nation. Just last year alone, The Rolling Stones performed a free live show in its capital Havana and former U.S. President Obama became the first U.S. president to visit in over 88 years.
Soak up Havana – old and new. Feast on street food staples in the form of pork burgers and coconut pies and check out Ernest Hemingway’s rumoured favourite mojito bar La Bodeguita del Medio. Venturing beyond the historic capital, take a panoramic tour through the Vinales Valley where the best tobacco grows or journey to the 16th century city of Trinidad (“the town that time forgot”), an impeccably preserved colonial town.
Instantly conjuring the image of white sandy beaches and turquoise sand, Fiji is an idyllic escape for honeymooners and couples alike. Likuliku Lagoon Resort is the only resort in Fiji with over water bures (wood-and-straw-huts) and horseshoe-shaped Matangi Private Island Resort was formerly a tiny volcanic island off-limits until it was transformed into an accessible hideaway surrounded by lush foliage.
Not sure where to start? Holiday designers like the experts at Lightfoot Travel can help tackle the nitty-gritty. Even if it means engaging a private charter. Get free reign – spending nights aboard a yacht comes with the freedom to sail in and out of secluded bays and snorkel right off the back of the boat.
Anyone with a healthy addiction to Narcos and Netflix can tell you that the American crime series has piqued an interest in the South American country. Blessed with staggeringly diverse topography, must-sees include the plethora of colonial houses and cathedrals in Bogota and charming old Villa de Leyva.
Make a stop at vibrant Unesco World Heritage Site Cartagena and meander through the cobbled streets with bougainvillea-adorned colourful houses and churches. A noteworthy landmark is the ‘San Felipe’ castle-fortress built on ‘San Lazaro’ hill to defend the city from pirate attacks.