DELHI: Travel magazine Travel + Leisure announced its annual 50 best places to visit list for 2017 earlier this month. A quarter of the list was comprised destination in/near North America with a bulk being in Europe. But six Asian destinations also made it to the list.
The good news – you may not need to apply for a visa to visit the likes of Cambodia and Seychelles given that you have an Indian passport. Also on the list is our very own Hampi near Bangalore. A UNESCO site, it is one of the most intriguing places to visit in India.
Without further ado, here is the list. Plan your travel now!
While Angkor temple complex at Seam Reap is among the most famous places to visit in Cambodia, what any forget is that the South Asian nation has beaches everybit stunning as neighbouring Thailand and Bali.
Argubaly getting to them was bit tough with no direct fights. Now there are! You can take a direct flights to the coastal Sihanoukville airport via Ho Chi Minh City. Once there, you can get some much needed peace at the Six Senses on Krabey Island or the Alila eco-resort on Koh Russey.
2) Hampi, Karnataka, India
Among the UNESCO world heritage sites in India, Hampi has some of the country’s most spectacular monuments from the 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire. At its zenith, it was one of the largest cities in the world. Today, you can see ruins of once towering temples, public buildings and monuments which still take your breath away.
Till now, the lack of a luxury hotel has kept many upscale visitors away. But now, the new Orange County, Hampi is there to make the trip as comfortable as you need. The hotel built on the lines of an erstwhile Vijayanagara palace is located just three miles away.
3) Jebel Akhdar, Oman
You can literally smell love in Jebel Akhdar in Oman before you see it. Located about a two hour drive away from the country’s capital Muscat among the rocky Oman’s Al-Hajar Mountains, the city is famous for its pink damask roses that blanket the surrounding hills every spring. From these, come delicious smelling rose potions used for many indulgent spa treatments, perfumes, food and cocktails.
It does not hurt that Akhdar complements the heavenly smells with spectacular views, rocky wadis (valleys), and natural landscapes with canyons and terraces. Stay at the recently opened Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar for luxury if you don’t want to stay at the reigning boutique hotel, the Alila Jabal Akhdar.
4) Jerusalem, Israel
Yes, that city. We are not asking you to go there for a pilgrimage but incredible food. The city’s culinary scene now rival’s that of capital Tel Aviv. At the Mahane Yehuda Market, food stalls stay open long past sunset. Among things to eat Kurdish shamburak, a pastry with brisket, potatoes, and chimichurri is fabulous. Stay at the new boutique Brown Jerusalem Hotel when it opens in a restored Ottoman-era villa soon. It promises to serve drinks in an underground water cistern, reason alone to visit the city.
Jungle covered mountains, golden stupas atop centuries old structures, crumbling ruins, milky waterfalls need we say more? Visiting Laos can feel like you have stepped back into the past. The country has been always a bit difficult to visit built now, with recent negotiations with Thailand, there are flights from Bangkok and new upscale lodgings at Laos’s two major cities—Vientiane and Luang Prabang, a UNESCO-protected town.
The former has many temples while the latter is prized for its natural landscape and a mix of traditional and French-colonial architecture. Also in 2017, the President by Akaryn five star hotel will open in Vientiane almost next door to the temple of the Emerald Buddha. Also slated to open shortly in Luang Prabang is the Rosewood hotel.
Seychelles is already a popular beach destination for Indians. Many Bollywood movies are shot here. The 115-island nation off Africa’s eastern shore has beautiful white sand beaches and many five star luxurious resorts to cater to your every whim.
For honeymooners, there is the uber luxurious and tranquil Six Senses Zil Pasyon at the private island of Félicité. It has five open-air spa pavilions and individual plunge pool for each of the 30 ocean facing villas. For families there is the new Presidential villa on Cousine island. And if you are a Four Season’s fan, head to Desroches Island where the sole resort will become a Four Seasons shortly.