Kamiya Jani Shares Her Top 10 Favourite International Destinations

International Destinations Kamiya Jani
by Suchismita Pal
by Suchismita Pal 1270

2020 had been a tough year for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the year had been intensely tiring for the die-hard travel buffs. Being cooped up at home days after days and months after months made them crave for the open sky, the mountains, the seas and some fresh air. No wonder, as the governments started lifting restrictions, people started travelling despite the virus risk, though they were able to visit mostly the local destinations. Now as the vaccines are out, we can expect the good days to come soon and travel to international destinations all over again. So, once the borders are open, here are the 10 best international destinations you can explore in 2021:

1. Portugal

First on my list, is Portugal. I LOVE this place. If there is one place I would like to visit again, it would have been Lisbon in Portugal. I visited Portugal with my family but I sneaked out alone at 6 am to explore this city on my own while everyone else was sleeping. Visit Lisbon for the pink street, blue buildings, yellow bridges and the amazing Portuguese architecture! This pink street was used to be Lisbon’s Red Light District. Today, it’s home to some of the best bars. And as you can see, the street is still not cleaned up from last night’s mess created. If somebody was to design the perfect sightseeing path through Lisbon, it would look a lot like the route that the public number tram 28 takes. You can take a tour of the entire city in just €2.90 ( ₹257) if you buy onboard or €1.45 with a prepaid transport card.⠀

Algarve,  which is about 3 hours drive away from Lisbon is another gem in Portugal. It is known for its beautiful sea caves and one Benagil cave is something you should definitely not miss out on! It is as beautiful as it looks in pictures. Portugal is known for its amazing castles, be it the castle of the moors or Sintra. We trekked Castelo De Moros with family and were quite tired by the end of it so we missed out on Sintra. But you should not! ⠀

2. New Zealand

The beauty of New Zealand is unparalleled to any other nation in the world. But when I traveled there, I realized the richness of its culture and the hospitality of its people. New Zealand is the land of open hearts. There’s never a shortage of things to do in New Zealand! Also, a perfect romantic getaway for all of you couples! Exploring Aoraki/Mount Cook is definitely one of my more memorable experiences. I visited this beautiful place more than a year back and to say I fell in love with the country would be an understatement.  From volcanoes to sailing, adventure to a bustling dining scene, New Zealand’s Auckland has something for everyone. The best way to experience New Zealand’s natural beauty with various flight options including Glacier and Snow Landings. Discovering stunning ice formations, the breathtaking Tasman Valley below and the bold Southern Alps was a surreal experience in itself!

 

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Queenstown is known to be a millionaire’s playground for its fair share of reasons. Housed in the penthouse of Eichardt’s Private Hotel (the top premium hotel in the country), I absolutely loved swimming in their hot pool that also has a terrace view of the entire city. The penthouse in itself is composed of a living room, a couple of bedrooms, an open kitchen, a luxurious bath, an open terrace and the infamous hot pool. Also, when in New Zealand, you must visit the surreal glowworm caves.

Also Read: 6 Affordable International Destinations To Visit In 2021 Once Restrictions Are Lifted

3. Oman

When I first collaborated With Oman Tourism, I had no clue what it had to offer but I came back feeling so overwhelmed with its beauty. Oman has an old-world charm, gigantic mountains, soothing desert everything under one roof. From the moment you enter into the Omani terrain, you will notice mountains everywhere. The Al Jabal Al Akhdar is a popular mountain range here. Just 2 hours away from Muscat, on the peak of the mighty mountains is crowned the splendid Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort that offers dramatic canyon views which remain unmatched. The resort is 2,000 meters above sea level. You can enjoy the Omani terrain & canyon views as you embark on this 2 hour journey. Take adventure to new heights with some serious mountain climbing.

 

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Nestled 200 kilometres away from Jabal Akhdar mountain, is the Desert Nights Camp in Sharqiya Sands that brings to life the truly magical desert experience with luxurious tents to live in. Nizwa, which was once the capital of Oman is about 140 km away from Muscat. The city is famous for its agricultural products & local handicrafts which are easily available at the expansive souq. The Nizwa souq is bustling with vendors selling everything from dates, Omani halwa, spices, silverware, silver jewellery traditional pots, Khanjar (dagger), & souvenirs. The Castle of Jabreen is a massive three-story structure built in the mid of 17th century. The castle is a fine example of Islamic architecture with beautiful wooden inscriptions and paintings on its ceilings. Also,  I found a paradise in the desert! Bedouin camp in the Wahiba Sands of Oman is the home to nomads for generations. During a visit to the Wahiba Sands spend some quality time with a locals of Bedouin family, experience their nomadic lives in the Omani desert. Omani hospitality, music & food is renown all over the world.

4. Paris

Even though this was a family trip, I decided to explore the city by myself on 1 out of 7 days on a hop on hop off bus and embraced the entire city. You come to know a lot about how a city functions through the efficiency of its public transportation system. I felt the best way to explore Paris is to use public transport. The red rouble decker Hop-On-Hop-Off bus gave total Europe feels. Sitting on the top deck, I could enjoy the pleasant breeze while getting a great view of the splendid streets of Europe housing magnificent buildings. I had spent a glitzy evening at Lido De Paris. Located in the historic Champs-Elysees, Lido De Paris is a cabaret and burlesque show which was established in 1946.  The first stop in my exploration of Paris was the Arc De Triomphe. This over 200-year-old monument honours martyrs of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.

 

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One of the prominent attractions in Paris in undoubtedly the Eiffel Tower. French music being played by musicians, tourists capturing every moment of this haven, people just letting down their hair witnessing the glory of this magnificent monument are just some of the things you can experience here. Also, at Disneyland Paris, you can see your favorite characters come to life & take photos with them, jump into the exciting theme park rides, and try out all kinds of attractions. There’s so much for you to see and do throughout the day, and at the evening, you can end your day with a stunning fireworks & lights show illuminating the sleeping beauty castle!  We also travelled by the tube in Paris i.e. the Paris metro system and my husband lost his phone. One would think stealing is not common abroad but it is. Always be alert! I also spent a relaxed day walking on the streets of the Champs-Elysees, which is the world’s most beautiful avenue.

5. Switzerland

I explored Switzerland in 5 days and I absolutely fell in love with the place. The snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes and impeccable natural beauty. Sigh! If there is one European place every Bollywood buff in India wishes to visit, Switzerland would be it! The chilly weather and picturesque scenery at Zurich, encouraged me to explore the neighbourhood on foot. From having an alfresco dining experience at a quaint Swiss restaurant to admiring the gorgeous architecture of the oldest buildings in Zurich, there’s plenty to do. The 11,000 feet above sea level, Jungfraujoch Mountain is truly Switzerland at its best. Four hours away from Zurich, you can stop by at Interlaken, a picturesque village nestled between Lakes Brienz and Thun. Enjoy a stroll in this beautiful city as from Grindelwald, you will have to take a cogwheel train, a once in a lifetime ride to Jungfraujoch.

 

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Also, you can’t miss out the magical trip to Mount Titlis. Enjoy a scenic drive in a comfortable coach with the view of beautiful mountain ranges. With more than 200 Bollywood films shot in Mount Titlis, a visit to this place is every Bollywood fans’ dream come true. I couldn’t hold myself back from striking the iconic Bollywood poses! Situated at a height of 2,132 meters above sea level, the ‘Mountain of Dragons’ offers fantastic sights of the Swiss Alps. I travelled by the aerial cableway to reach the top of the mountain. Mount Pilatus impressed me for not only its spectacular view but also its range of amazing activities.

Also Read: 7 Budget-Friendly International Destinations To Travel In Your 20s

6. The Czech Republic

Can’t stop thinking about the time when I made the most of Czech Republic in just 5 days! The best time to visit Czech Republic is the early fall or spring months ( May to September) or even during Christmas season. Here, you need to explore the local markets of Prague. Remember all those movies you watched on television about a magical winter wonderland, filled with happy faces and Christmas baubles? I’m pretty sure it’s all shot in Prague!  Old Town Quarter in Prague, is the best place to soak in the view and vibe of Czech Republic.  Old Town Quarter in Prague, is the best place to soak in the view and vibe of Czech Republic.  Strolling around the city of Prague, I came across a tiny shop called the Gingerbread museum where I could put the artist hat on!  Prague also offers the unusually calming ‘beer spa’. Also, beer is cheaper than water!

 

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Also, Christmas in Czech is so Christmasy that even the trams here are decorated with starry lights. Apart from these you should explore the Brno City and Olomouc city. Brno expertly blends its rich history with modern-day innovation. It is a city filled with galleries and museums, but also cafes and high-end clubs. Olomouc is full of history, Baroque beauty, and reverence for God. With each step, you are surprised by the large number of important and majestic monuments – imposing and picturesque churches, rich palaces of the burghers, monumental monasteries.

7. Thailand

With so many islands to visit in Thailand, some common names like Krabi or Phi Phi would be anyone’s first option of choice. But my suggestion would be to visit an island that’s not very commercially popular and is more secluded and quiet. And that’s Koh Samui. You can stay at The Royal Muang Samui Villas here.  These private villas were every Instagrammer’s dream. It indeed made me feel like I’m living the island life, with its tropical vibe, private pools and spacious wooden chalet rooms. Also, I headed to the Nangyuan Island on a speedboat. This spot is very popular for scuba diving and snorkelling and I remember on reaching the island, the view was much more scenic than I had expected it to be…maybe even more.

 

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At Koh Tao Island, our group decided to take a kayaking challenge between ourselves and kayaking in the pristine blue waters was a joy of its own. The feeling of being alone on an island with very few people was quite a beautiful experience. Apart from these, we also enjoyed zip lining at Lamai viewpoint at also ATV bike riding at Koh Samui.

8. South Korea

Gorgeous dense forested parks, rugged mountain summits, beautiful beaches, sizzling nightlife, flavoursome local cuisine, thriving pop culture are just some of the amazing things about South Korea. I discovered the soul of Seoul in 4 days during my travel to South Korea. When in Korea, visit the Myengdong Street which is basically the Khau Gali of Seoul. Also, the Ogyesa Buddist Temple is a must-visit.  This Temple is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Korea and a symbol of Korean Buddhism. I remember being completely surprised to find a beautiful sense of calmness in the midst of the crowded city. Know about Korea’s fascinating history at the National Folk Museum which also displays the arts and crafts of South Korea.

 

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You should also visit the N Seoul Tower & Padlock Bridge which gives a gorgeous view of the city of Seoul from the top. When you visit the N Seoul Tower bridge, you’ll find a wall full of colourful padlocks where you can tie your own and lock your love forever. Lastly, don’t forget to take a stroll around the vibrant Dongdaemun night market.

Also Read: 6 Beaches In India So Stunning That They Look Like International Destinations

9. Northern Territory, Australia

Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory of Australia and it is world-famous for its fabulous food, colourful outdoor markets and gorgeous sunsets. Keep swiping & you’ll know exactly why this place has been one of my favourites. One of the first things to do in Darwin is to visit the local Mindil beach night market something that the locals of Darwin take pride in. Soak up tropical night air & aromas of foods from all over the world and The smells, sights and sounds are a true reflection of Darwin’s multicultural society. You must also take a ride on a private sunshine cruise to feel the wind as you set the sails on the magnificent Darwin Harbour. And hey, how can you miss watching a movie under the stars? Watch a movie with a laidback ambience under the tropical starry night sky & enjoy delicious street food style dinner.

 

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Two hours away from Darwin, drive down to the Litchfield National Park. See huge crocodiles launching themselves vertically out to claim dangling meat. Watch these creatures up close in the wild as cruises run several times a day. Also,  one of the things to do when in Australia is to swim in the natural water pools. These ones don’t have crocodiles, jump in!

10. Macao

When in Macao, you cannot miss visiting the Senado Square. There’s a saying that you haven’t been to Macau if you haven’t been to Senado Square it is indeed called the colourful square of Macao. Also, at Macao, you can experience one of the best light shows of Asia at St Paul’s. Another destination that should be on your Macao bucket list is its oldest and most liberal temple, A-Ma temple. What’s interesting about this temple is that, you can wear shoes, shorts & even smoke here. It is believed that you must stay your true self in front of Goddess Maazu and acting differently is considered hypocrisy.

 

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No visit to a place is complete without splurging on its mouthwatering cuisine and Macau has a perfect mix of Portuguese & Chinese cuisines and we opted for Antonio’s offering some of the best Portuguese food in the heart of Taipa Village.  In Macao, there is a cute and peaceful village called the Calone Village. Also referred to as the The Green Belt of Macau, it offers a breather from the hustle & bustle of the city. Calone is also very famous for its Pandas. Also, coming to Macao, one cannot miss taking a gondola ride inside the Venetian, Macau, a hotel that is modelled after the city of Venice.

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