WISH YOU WERE HERE

Ten bucket list des­ti­na­tions.

DRIFT Travel magazine - - Contents - BY: CHOY TEH

Whether you saw the North­ern Lights in Ice­land long be­fore it be­came all the rage; to walk­ing the his­toric Camino de San­ti­ago in Spain; or tak­ing in the sun­rise at Angkor Wat, fig­ur­ing out where to head next can be a chal­lenge. Get away from the heavy traf­fic in well-trod­den des­ti­na­tions and in­stead, dis­cover a whole new world of ad­ven­tures that truly go be­yond the beaten path. From travers­ing the rain forests of Borneo, to dis­cov­er­ing the com­plex his­tory of Mace­do­nia, here are 10 ex­pe­ri­ences by Ex­o­dus Trav­els that will ful­fill the sea­soned trav­eler’s pas­sion for dis­cov­ery and ad­ven­ture.

1 Egypt: Nile Cruise: Egypt is mak­ing a come­back and if you want to ex­pe­ri­ence the beauty of an­cient sto­ries, well-pre­served mon­u­ments and an in­fi­nite num­ber of an­tiq­ui­ties with few tourists around - the time to go is now. Take in clas­sic his­tor­i­cal sites such as the Luxor Tem­ple and the Kar­nak Tem­ple Com­plex in the Val­ley of the Kings, be­fore a re­lax­ing jour­ney along the Nile on a cruise boat from Luxor to dis­cover the spec­tac­u­lar Edfu and Kom Ombo tem­ples. Dis­em­bark and sail on a tra­di­tional Fel­luca for awe-in­spir­ing views of Aswan and Cleopa­tra’s un­fin­ished obelisk.

2 Peru: The Lost City of Cho­que­quirao: Es­cape the crowds on this chal­leng­ing, un­usual walk through Peru’s moun­tain­ous re­gion. This var­ied trek lead trav­el­ers up steep paths through dense cloud forests, over spec­tac­u­lar scenic passes and along an­cient Inca paths to Vil­cabamba’s best kept se­cret; the lost Inca city of Cho­que­quirao. Machu Pic­chu may draw the crowds, but Cho­que­quirao is larger, un­touched and very se­cluded. Much of the city is still un­ex­ca­vated, but the stonework that has stood the test of time in­clude rit­ual baths and tem­ples ded­i­cated to the sun, moon and the earth spirit.

3 Belize: Jun­gle & Coast Ad­ven­ture: Belize takes its motto to heart; no shirt, no shoes, no prob­lem! This laid-back coun­try with a lively soul is filled with a com­plex his­tory and a vi­brant lo­cal cul­ture. Take a trip down below to a ‘Mayan un­der­world’ cave sys­tem, and swim in sap­phire sink­holes. Put on your snorkels to dis­cover a myr­iad of un­der­wa­ter life. On this trip, cross over into Gu­atemala to visit two of the world’s most im­pres­sive Mayan ru­ins, Tikal and Uax­ac­tun. Visit the small laid back town of San Ig­na­cio, which was once only ac­ces­si­ble by boat, to get a glimpse of the di­verse life and cul­ture that is specif­i­cally unique to Belize.

4 Malaysia: Trekking Borneo & Be­yond: Borneo is home to some of the most di­verse and beau­ti­ful wildlife in the whole of South East Asia. Start with a visit to ma­jes­tic Mt Kin­a­balu, be­fore head­ing to the pris­tine Danum Val­ley. A na­ture lover’s par­adise, whose beauty and an­i­mals are equaled only by Sarawak and the World Her­itage Mulu Na­tional Park with its im­mense cave sys­tem and the old­est rain for­est in the world. Come face to face with Orang-utans at the Sepi­lok Sanc­tu­ary, stay at a bam­boo long­house in Sabah on a tea plan­ta­tion, and fin­ish the trip re­lax­ing at the beach for a chance to spot the elu­sive Ir­rawaddy dol­phins.

5 Uzbek­istan: Un­cover the Silk Road: This jour­ney to the heart of Cen­tral Asia will take you back to a time across the cen­turies. Ex­plore the city of Bukhara, which is home to 900 mon­u­ments, jew­eled col­ored domes and fas­ci­nat­ing Is­lamic ar­chi­tec­ture. One of the city’s great land­marks is the Kalyan minaret, known as the death tower, where ap­par­ently many an un­faith­ful wife met a dread­ful end. Spend a night in the desert by stay­ing in a tra­di­tional Yurt camp and be re­galed sto­ries of the lo­cal cul­ture by Kazakh no­mads. Travel to Sa­markand, the jewel of the an­cient and mod­ern Silk Road, and still a ma­jor trade cen­ter of tex­tiles, car­pets and works of art in this fas­ci­nat­ing coun­try.

6 Mada­gas­car: Wildlife Par­adise: The wildlife of Mada­gas­car is one of the is­land’s main at­trac­tions, and its chief su­per­star is un­doubt­edly the lemur with over 70 species spread through­out. Quite a num­ber of the na­tive an­i­mals can­not be found any­where else in the world, such as the Gran­di­dier Mon­goose, Ap­pert’s Green­bull and the Crested Ibis. There’s a chance to see the rare In­dri, the largest lemur in An­da­si­bele, while in the cloud for­est of Ranomafana Na­tional Park, catch a glimpse of the elu­sive rare Golden Bam­boo and Greater Bam­boo Lemurs. Mada­gas­car also boasts some glo­ri­ous coast­lines, so re­lax on their white pow­dery beaches, go snor­kel­ing or a take sim­ple stroll on the sand.

7 Mace­do­nia: Cul­tural Jour­ney: A lesser-dis­cov­ered cousin of the Balkans, Mace­do­nia has an in­tense his­tory where in­flu­ences from the East and West col­lide. It is fa­mous for an­cient civ­i­liza­tions, UNESCO world her­itage monas­ter­ies and the vi­brant cities of Sofia and Skopje. Ot­tomans, Com­mu­nists and Ro­mans left their mark dur­ing their oc­cu­pa­tion, which sub­se­quently im­printed many con­trasts across the cul­tural land­scape of this coun­try. This Baltic state is also rich in na­ture with a mul­ti­tude of na­tional parks, water­falls, and fa­mous wine re­gions, and trav­el­ers will sam­ple lo­cally grown Mace­do­nian wine in the city of Tikvesh. Food­ies will also en­joy dis­cov­er­ing the cof­fee cul­ture in Bi­tola, and the role it has had on the city in the last few cen­turies.

8 Italy: Walk­ing the Fran­ci­gena Way: AAS trail tourism in­creases in pop­u­lar­ity, The Fran­ci­gena Way should be next on your list to con­quer. This his­tor­i­cal jour­ney has been walked by thou­sands of pil­grims, and was once the route from Can­ter­bury to Rome. It be­gins in the beau­ti­ful city of Orvi­eto, be­fore walk­ing through Tus­cia Laziale, an agri­cul­tural re­gion of fields, olive groves and vol­canic lakes. Fol­low­ing the an­cient Via Cas­sia, pass through beau­ti­ful vil­lages such as Mon­te­fi­as­cone, also known as the city of Popes and for its fine wine. Many me­dieval cities and monas­ter­ies fill this path, in­clud­ing thick forests of oaks, abbey ru­ins, and se­cluded com­mu­ni­ties. The jour­ney ends in the Eter­nal City of Rome.

9 West Green­land: Dis­cover Disko Bay: Po­lar ex­pe­di­tions have grown in pop­u­lar­ity over the years, as peo­ple want to see glaciers and ice­bergs in all their glory. This arc­tic ex­pe­di­tion takes a unique spin as it also jour­neys into lo­cal Inuit com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing on the west­ern coast of Green­land. Trav­el­ers have the op­por­tu­nity to delve into the lo­cal cul­ture within the icy seas. No jour­ney in Green­land would be com­plete without a visit to the im­pres­sive Ilulis­sat Ice­fjord, a UNESCO World Her­itage Site. There’s a vast amount of Arc­tic wildlife on this route, and the best whale watch­ing can be done on Disko Is­land, as its sur­round­ing wa­ters are home to the hump­back, fin, and minke whales.

10 Su­dan: Desert Ex­plorer: An un­der­rated des­ti­na­tion com­pared to other African na­tions, Su­dan is slow­ing gain­ing mo­men­tum as an un­char­tered des­ti­na­tion to visit. It has vast red deserts and be­lieve it or not, a large num­ber of an­cient pyra­mids. Built by the rulers of the Kushite king­doms, they are smaller com­pared to Egyp­tian pyra­mids and are ex­tremely well pre­served. The best part is, there are hardly any tourists around so your chances of tak­ing an un­ob­structed pho­to­graph of a pyra­mid is ex­tremely high. Ex­plore the Tem­ple of Soleb, and cap­ture im­ages of colo­nial style rail­way sta­tions still rem­i­nis­cent of British ar­chi­tec­ture in the mid­dle of the desert. On top of that, camp un­der the stars and visit Nu­bian vil­lages in this out of the way itin­er­ary.

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