where to travel




5 trips we're into this year

5tripswereinto_taktshang

for the curious culture-seeker

Bhutan

The first time I ever heard of Bhutan was when I hopped a flight from Bangkok to Calcutta courtesy of Bhutan Air. As it turns out, this often-overlooked landlocked nation is a pretty interesting place and still relatively untouched by tourism.

fast facts:

  • Bhutan means "land of the Thunder Dragon"
  • The government lifted a ban on the internet and television in 1999 to move towards modernization (to put that in perspective, Britney Spears released “Baby one more time” the same year)
  • Bhutan is the only country in the world that measures happiness

must-see:

don't miss Taktshang Goemba
One of Bhutan's most famous monasteries (FYI it’s located 900m up on the side of a cliff, you’ve been warned)

must-pack:

A tough camera that can withstand the elements, our lead photographer Pat recommends taking the Leica M9 to capture those photos of a lifetime.

5tripswereinto_Valparaiso

for the gypsetter

Valparaiso, Chile

Are you a gypsetter? Driving right past Valparaiso when I visited Chile is definitely one of my biggest travel regrets. Weathered colonial grandeur and 42 cerros (hills) set the scene for Valparaiso’s bohemian and laid-back vibe. Crumbling architecture, colourful street art, corner cafes and spectacular ocean views make Valparaiso the ideal city to wander without a specific destination. It’s all about the journey anyway, right?

must-do:

Ride on the funicular railway (say what?). Valparaiso’s hills are incredibly steep and this cliff hugging railway makes it a breeze to get the top and snap those “oh I was just in Valparaiso” pics.

must-pack:

Decent walking shoes. I’m a fan of the classic Chuck Taylor

5tripswereinto_fernando

for the escapist

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Thinking of Brazil usually conjures up the beaches of Rio, Carnaval and glamazon Giselle. But just off the coast lies a hidden paradise, Fernando de Noronha. This archipelago (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a beach-lover’s dream. Untainted by huge development, this island offers up aquamarine water, world-class diving, great surfing, untouched beaches and loads of wildlife. Fernanda de Noronha takes exclusivity up a notch by restricting the daily number of visitors, so unlike Rio where the beaches are jam-packed, you are guaranteed to feel like the beaches are your very own.

must-do:

Go diving. With warm water (26C) and visibility up to 50m if you were ever planning an epic diving adventure, this is the place to do it.

must-pack:

A full wallet. This protected eco-paradise charges all visitors an Environment Protection Tax plus most food and goods are flown in from the mainland and include a surcharge. Protecting this island does come at a steep charge.

5tripswereinto_hagiasophia

for the city-slicker

Istanbul, Turkey

Ahhh the city where East meets West. I rolled into Istanbul with my backpack more than 10 years ago and am anxious to go back. In the past few years, this city has morphed into a bustling cosmopolitan center where history, fashion and cultures collide. There’s no shortage of things to do from visiting the incredible Haiga Sophia and haggling for carpets in the Grand Bazaar to exploring the exhibits at Istanbul Modern or kicking back and sudsing it up in a traditional hammam.

must-do:

Get caught up in a frenzy and whirl with the dervishes.

must-pack:

Ladies: Dust off your old pashmina, it’ll come in handy when visiting mosques/religious sites where covering your head is expected.
Guys: To avoid looking like an uber tourist, pack pants, shorts aren’t acceptable city wear, you won’t see any Turkish men wearing them.

5tripswereinto_iceland

for the adventurer

Iceland

Bjork’s homeland is just as quirky as she is. Unusual history (Icelandic folk are direct descendants of Vikings), a growing arts scene and incredible natural landscapes definitely make Iceland one of the coolest places to visit this year. Adrenaline junkies are going to have a hard time choosing between surfing the icy Atlantic waves, rafting glacial rivers, mountain biking or —for the bravest—diving the Silfra Rift.

must-do:

Soak in the thermal waters at the Blue Lagoon (http://www.bluelagoon.com). Follow your relaxing dip with a latte and slice of skyr cake Iceland’s version of cheesecake.

must-pack:

Outdoorsy gear is a must but don’t forgo you sense of style especially if you are planning to spend any time in Reykjavík, in fact you could even crank it up a notch.

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13 Comments »


I love that I’ve been to three of these five places! Bhutan is high on my list for my next trip :)

Comment by Danielle — August 7, 2013 @ 8:13 am


This post was so amazing and on point! Thanks for the inspiration Kels…

Comment by Alyson — August 7, 2013 @ 12:47 pm


An important point about visiting Bhutan that was left out- there is no “free tourism” in Bhutan. To visit, you must secure a visa through a travel agency, and once you arrive you will be under the care of a guide for the duration of your visit. Itineraries are flexible, and you will work together to make sure you get to see everything you want to. I booked through Yetis and Dragons (based out of Thimphu) and the experience was perfect. Our guide was amazing and the trip was a dream come true!
(I’m not paid to endorse them, just really loved them!)

Comment by Caitlin — August 8, 2013 @ 2:52 pm


I was in Istanbul two yr ago.. I loved the Bosphorus sea.. The mosques… The spice markets and the food… .. One out of five isn’t bad… Along the way I was in DubI a month, also..

Comment by Loma Kocienski — August 8, 2013 @ 3:21 pm


The only thing missing here in Iceland is a lululemon store :)

Comment by Gudrun — August 8, 2013 @ 3:36 pm


Wow! I would love to checkout all five of these places. I have the serious travel bug right now and reading this post just makes it that much stronger! Thanks for the inspiration ღ

Comment by Christie Preston @ Beauty and the Bod — August 8, 2013 @ 5:33 pm


I have been fourtnate to visit some of the cities & I would recommend Cape Town, South Africa!! Such a beautiful city! Great weather some what cold this time of year, & such an interesting history. There are lots of places to visit! Cape of good hope is breathe taking and if you are lucky you will get to see whales.. I haven’t got the chance to visit table mountine yet but it’s in the plan. If you are a dare devil then go for the great white shark diving experience..

Ps I am only a traveler with one intention & that is see the world!

Comment by Sara — August 10, 2013 @ 12:06 am


Such a great collection! I just clipped this to my Evernote “Places to Visit” notebook. I’ve been to Istanbul. It was amazing!

Comment by Sue — August 12, 2013 @ 7:08 am


Two of your ambassadors (me and Janet Lau from HK) are off to the Himalayas in Kashmir, home of Siva the Lord of Yoga, for a mind-blowing yoga-trek next Sept.

Just sayin…

Xx

Comment by Baxter — August 19, 2013 @ 7:16 am


Great photos,where do I see more?

Comment by Rob Jennings — August 24, 2013 @ 3:06 am


Hi Rob,
The best way to see more is in the rad places these pictures were taken! Get your travelling shoes on and go explore!
~Jamieson

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — August 24, 2013 @ 10:22 am


While I have been to Turkey and Iceland, South America is high on my list of places still to visit. My last few adventures have been with co-workers to Kenya, Vietnam, Tibet, & Mexico. While they spent a month, I had two weeks (or three) to enjoy while having a contact(and guides with relatives of the friend) that at least has concern for my well-being. Next time a coworker talks about going to their land of birth, ask if you can go along for a short walk-about !

Comment by Bob Woehr — August 31, 2013 @ 8:52 am


Thanks for the inspiring tips. I hope i’ll ever visit one of those countries. I always go on trip to a neighboring country, I think it’s time to look for an adventure !

Comment by hanne — October 23, 2013 @ 12:56 pm


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