By Jayasmita Ray:
The year 2014 is the “Year of the horse”. The energy associated is that of inner strength and the ability to free oneself. Travelling is one way to explore this possibility. Some journeys leave us with a fresh perspective and renewed resolve. Keeping this in mind, I have described some places which could be considered a “bucket list”. These destinations are mentioned as follows:
There is nothing like Australia. Start your journey with an urban blast from Sydney and Melbourne with their great cultural experiences — Sydney Opera House, famous beaches and the restaurants. Try sporting activities like the Sunfest, Grand Prix etc. There are other endless island wonders to explore with hiking or long road trip options. Don’t forget to visit the Great Barrier Coral Reef and other diverse natural wonders. You could spend years travelling and still not see enough!
A part of Europe as well as Asia with a very awe-inspiring experience, the journey into Turkey begins at Istanabul with the visit to the Blue Mosque, Takshim Square, Spice Market and Aya Sofia etc. There is more than enough to explore at Istanabul itself. If you want to venture further, head of to Derinkuyu, an eight-level underground city where the people escaped from the Romans. The other must-see locations would be Antalya for its pebbled beaches, Goreme and Kas.
A glimpse into Africa is definitely a life-time experience that must not be missed. The wildlife experience is unparalleled — you could end up having a breakfast with the giraffes at Rothschild or enjoy a snake safari near the Galana River. Dining options can extend to caves as well. If you get lucky, you can watch the natural hunting scene while spotting cheetahs, lions and other predators. Other special sights are the museums of Kisumu and Lamu along with the Gede Ruins.
An amazing country with a lot going on, the first place to experience would be undoubtedly Rio De Janeiro or more popularly known as “Rio”. ItÂ is full of amazing shows, cruises and the famous parade. There is a lot of walking that can be done in this city itself. Other than that, the 2014 FIFA world cup is enough reason to run to Brazil! Other than that, there is enough bird-watching, water-sports and culture to experience, particularly in overlooked locations like Belem, Brasilia etc.
Greece offers the explorer a quintessential passage into prehistoric times and mythology. If you love the Greek Gods, the temple of Zeus (6TH BC) in Athens is the best place to start, with notable places like Hadrin’s Arch, Erectetheion, Theatre of Dionysus etc. Once you drift out of Athens, there are about 227 habitable islands to explore that are full of pristine beaches, water sport activities, lovely cuisine and warm people. Places like Samos, Crete, Delphi and Santorini must not be missed!
This is one country that is just plain cool and surreal. Brimming with the intricate old culture and the very modern way of living, the people and places you visit just grow on you. Whether it’s that amazing city life experience in crowded Tokyo, friendlier Osaka or the endless shrines, castles, quaint towns and technological marvels you witness there, it just doesn’t feel enough! In the end, there is no better time to let go except on a bottle of sake and that karaoke time with your friends.
Remember watching “The Lunchbox”? Bhutan is like a breath of fresh air and people are calm, friendly and very respectful. You roam around on your own and not feel like an outsider. You while experience peace and be amazed by the mountains, the dzongs and the palaces. Thimpu is definitely recommended for lone female travellers. Punaka will leave you laughing while running across the rice fields. Another incredible experience would be to have your flight land right into the cradle of mountains after viewing Mount Everest Peak.