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A Simple Vacation: 5 Destinations Across the World that Feel Like A Warm Hug

Cesky Krumlov-Czech Republic

| 7 mins read

In today's fast-paced world, people often experience a calling to reconnect with themselves and take a rejuvenating break in an untouched place. This is why slow travel is gaining importance. In simple words, slow travel is where one diverts from the conventional 'limitations' of time and itinerary but focuses on the experience at hand. It is not only about ticking off the bucket list; it is rather about feeling the pulse of a place and meeting its true essence. 

However, today, cities or countries that are still maintaining their own pace and culture despite the global pressure of modernisation are hard to find. Read the blog to learn about the five cities across the world that have not only retained their old charm but have also become destinations for people seeking spiritual and personal growth. 

Darjeeling, India

Known as the "Queen of Hills", Darjeeling is a beautiful site of small houses, colonial architecture, widespread tea gardens and narrow lanes, all set in the background of the magnificent Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain. Imagine witnessing every morning being graced by the window view of the mighty Kanchenjunga's tip lit by the sun's first rays. This beautiful place was made as a summer resort for the British Raj elite. Interestingly, because it is situated near the borders of Nepal and Tibet, a lot of the British, Tibetan, and Nepalese cultures can be seen in the town's lifestyle. 

Toy Train

Things to do:

Apart from taking the much-needed break, enjoy a beautifully nostalgic ride on the "Toy Train" (passing through hills, it offers breathtaking views of the landscape), hike the Tiger Hill (the best time is to visit during the sunrise), get to see red panda and snow leopard at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, see the collection of precious ancient manuscripts at the Yiga Choeling Monastery, learn about the history and culture of Tibets in the area at the Himalayan Tibetan Museum, take a guided tour of the big tea estates, and indulge in some quite contemplation at the Peace Pagoda.

Do you know Darjeeling's tea has received the Geographical Indication (GI) status? It means the tea is unique to the place and, thus, sought worldwide. 

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

A hidden gem in the South Bohemian region of Czech, Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO-recognised World Heritage site for being a great example of a small central European medieval town whose architectural and traditional heritage has remained intact for more than five centuries. Cesky is a fairy-tale retreat with a beautiful castle, the meandering river of Vltava, unique spires, ornate bridges and cobbled streets. It has often been applauded for its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, making it an interesting sight. 

Cesky Krumlov

Things to do:

The most famous attraction of the town is the Cesky Krumlov Castle, which dominates the town's skyline. In fact, it is the country's second-largest castle and boasts beautiful chambers, stunning courtyards and a Baroque theatre. Additionally, you can check out the other highlights, such as the St. Vitus Church (considered the National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic), the art museum dedicated to the Austrian painter Egon Schiele, the fountain dedicated to the plague epidemic at the Plague Column and the Regional Museum in the Czech Krumlov. Moreover, to slowly immerse and get acquainted with the local culture, attend the Five-Petaled Rose Festival (a vibrant renaissance experience that happens during the summer solstice) and spend your evenings at the Old Town Square, which is the main hub of cafes, gatherings and festivals. 

Bhaktapur, Nepal

Envision a small city against the backdrop of the majestic Himalayas, which is so rich in faith that every corner finds ancient temples beautifully preserved, and every pathway is flooded with soothing prayer flags! This is what Bhaktapur looks like. Also called the 'cultural capital' of Nepal, the city once used to be the seat of the Malla Kings, and throughout the place, the art and architecture associated with the Malla dynasty can be seen to date. Because of its richness in art, culture, and architecture, the city has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Durbar Square

Things to do:

A fascinating aspect of the city is that there's something to explore for all travellers. While in Bhaktapur- visit the temples, shrines and the 55-Window Palace in the Durbar Square, capture the beauty of Nepal's tallest pagoda-style temples of Nyatapola, try your hand at pottery at the Pottery Square, make a photo stop at the beautifully created Golden Gate, spend some peaceful time at the Changu Narayan Temple, which is considered the oldest temple in Nepal. Another must-visit square is the Dattatreya Square, which is famous for the exquisite Peacock Window and temples, ponds and museums. 

Lamu, Kenya

If going slow and old is your thing, then Lamu is your place! Recognised as a World Heritage site for its representation of Swahili culture and preservation of traditional building techniques, Lamu is the place where you can still expect old stone buildings and traditional dhow boats. While in Lamu, you can embrace the slower pace of life by going for serene beach walks, engaging with locals, and getting involved in other local affairs. 


Things to do:

A must-visit is the Old Town, which will provide you with a direct glimpse into the earlier life and buildings. Built in the 19th century, the Lamu Fort is another highlight; it also offers panoramic views from its top. Moreover, enjoy a serene sunset ride in a traditional dhow (an age-old maritime tradition in Lamu), soak in the sun and have a refreshing time at Shela Beach, and go deeper into the mangrove forests of the region, accompanied by a naturalist guide, who can let you in on the floral treasures of the region. The perfect time to visit is during the Lamu cultural festival when the city lights up, and there is an overwhelming joy in the air. During the festival, you can expect dhow races, traditional dance performances, local music and tasty delicacies. 

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico

Although originally a Mayan city, San Cristóbal, over time, became an important Spanish colonial hub. This makes it a perfect melting pot of diverse traditions, where the colonial legacy meets the age-old traditions. Today, nestled amidst highland valleys, the city boasts cobblestoned streets, vibrantly painted buildings, a church and bell towers, all imposed on the background of the American mountains. 

A Charming Cafe in San Cristóbal de las Casas

Things to do:

The best place to get a sense of the city is the main square, which boasts colonial buildings and the famous Cathedral of San Cristóbal, painted in striking yellow and white; it is often revered as a perfect ‘visual treat’! Other experiences to have- visit the Na Bolom Museum (which showcases the culture and history of the region), pay a respectful visit at the Iglesia de San Cristóbalito (get ready to climb its 200 steps!), take a leisurely walk in Orquídeas Moxviquil and see over 700 flower species. Additionally, for a more interactive experience, choose to visit indigenous markets like Mercado Santo Domingo, where indigenous communities sell handicrafts, textiles, and traditional medicines. 

It wouldn't be wrong to say that the allure of untouched places that radiate tranquillity and tradition is unbeatable. Each step in the above-recommended places (be it walking in the tea gardens of Darjeeling, praying at a temple in Bhaktapur or experiencing the Swahili culture in Lamu) offers travellers a distinct embrace to the soul.