By Aditi Annapurna:
Gone are the days when Switzerland and France and UK and Singapore and Malaysia and every-country-with-crazy-frequency-of-flights-running-to-and-fro were thought to be the “cool” and “hip” holiday destinations, gone are the days when telling people that you’d been on the typically combined, Buy-One-Country-Get-Another-Country-Free trips planned by travel agencies got you looks of instant respect across the table. 2012, or for that matter, Â the years we’ll be seeing in the foreseeable future, will witness a surge of tourist attraction and travel to the unusual places of the world. Youth ki Awaaz, in this spirit of letting the leash of one’s adventurism down, gives you some emerging, and rather unusual holiday destinations of today’s times (in no particular order):
- Greece: Contrary to speculation that visiting the country at the time when it is experiencing an economic downturn wouldn’t be the wisest thing to do, I emphasise that the time to visit Greece is favourable now. For starters, it’d be a great place for travel because the economy’s been hit so bad that for them that every penny counts, and your going there is probably giving them the business and revenue that they’ve been thirsting for in a long, long time. Jokes apart, though, Greece figures as one of the hottest places to attend for two reasons — heritage, and heritage. In the past, (or the time when Greece’s economy was in happier times, as one might like to put it) the government of Greece had been investing a major proportion of its money on improving the infrastructure and tourism services of the country, as a result of which its beauty has been preserved over the years.
- Israel: This country is a great place to visit this year, and I do not say this only for the reason that pronouncing “Izz-rael” in the sophisticated, clipped tone that Americans are famously known for will receive great attention and almost-instant best-friends-for-life. And No, before you ask, the kind of political issues it is facing will not affect your trip, at least not for the recent future. Youth ki Awaaz, though, will not take any responsibility in case any armed conflict or military activity arises during your stay in the country, nevertheless, we hope and pray you have a safe holiday.Â Israel possesses the epistemic origin of one of the 3 major religions of the world — Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and contains a plethora of religious, historical and cultural sites as a result.
- Jordan: A quick disclaimer — if you’re going to Jordan even in the slightest hope of bumping into the Queen Rania and hoping that what will follow is a series of dates and romantic outings, then we’d rather you go right away and look at yourself in the mirror, and then look at the Queen’s picture, And then look at yourself again…Â Other than the Ruins of Petra, which is obviously an attraction for those out on completing the “7 Wonders of the World” checklist, the country offers a lot other diversity for places to visit, like the Desert Castle of Qasr Amra, an example of Islamic art and architecture; and Wadi Rum, the valley region, most famously known for being the place where T.E. “Lawrence of Arabia” Lawrence based his operations during the Arab Revolt.
- Iceland: The volcanically and geologically-active country presents many sites to visit, what with the many glacial rivers and geysers forming part of the variety of the landforms in the region. Its capital, Reykjavik, boasts of a vibrant culture and artistic community. Travel costs including airfare and accommodation are also seeing a decrease, with increased tourism in the country encouraging the government and travel companies alike tocreate more affordable deals and opportunities for tourists.
- Taiwan: The country’s been overshadowed by China’s international dominance for too long. It is freckled with numerous mountains, and on the other hand, also possesses beautiful coastal geography. Besides its geographical diversity, it also hosts many forms of Chinese civilisation in its monuments, and has a beautifully-balanced history of Buddhist and Tao culture and religious heritage. Travelling and getting around the place is relatively affordable too, with daily expenses of a medium to low budget amounting anywhere between Rs.1000 and Rs.1500.
- Madagascar: The land that provides habitat to the most unique animal species that ever lived, including the world’s largest bird, The Elephant Bird and the 70 varieties of lemur, Madagascar is the place to visit if one yearns to be surrounded with biodiversity of the most magnificent kind.
- Georgia: Ah, yes, it’s one of those “Russia waale countries” that’s being talked about here. The word ‘wine’ itself comes from the word g’vino of the Georgian language, and there are many archaeological remains that point out the existence of wine presses from the ancient times. Savannah, the largest city of the country, attracts many visitors to its great works of architecture — of historical churches, forts and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, it poses a great place for travel and tourism.
- Puerto Rico combines the beauty of the Caribbean culture and the well-structured organisation of its parent state, America. It possesses the history of Spanish influences, reflected in its culture and architecture, and the rare, balanced combination of the “modernity” of malls and the natural diversity of tropical rainforests. Visit Puerto Rico to live amongst a community of people who truly live in the moment, something that can be seen in the way they eat, sing, dance and play.
- Pakistan: Reading this might just make one think about what different sights Pakistan would have to offer, but we make the biggest mistake in thinking that due to sharing a civilisation similar to India’s, the country offers few places to visit and call “Heritage Sites”. Pakistan is home to the ruins of the Mohenjo-Daro civilisation, as well as a wholly different form of Islamic forms of architecture, and the Baluchistan region of the country which has influences of Iranian society and living.Â
- Greenland: The country has a blend of traditional Inuit and Scandinavian culture, and while 80% of its land surface area is covered with rice, it has a lot more to offer than icy-green surroundings. Visit the country to appreciate the coming together of Danish and Norwegian influences to pro-create a unique culture, and have the pride of having visited the World’s Largest Island.