Many of us take pride in being bitten by the travel bug, but these days travel has been bitten by a bug – “the novel coronavirus”. The situation is alarming in some parts and has created panic, justifiably, around the globe.
So, what's the plan! Someone sneezed hard on your Plan A; we have you ‘covered’ with Plan B, C, D up to Zee. Here is our travel guide to help with your wanderlust cravings. These places might not be the long-lost twin to the place you wanted to visit but qualify as doppelgangers or body doubles with flying colours.
China is Closed, Knock on the Neighbour’s Door
China has experienced the worst of the outbreak. But there is no reason to be disheartened if plans of gambolling on the ‘Great Wall of China’ were soiled. Come up with new selfie ideas for ‘Kumbhalgarh Fort’ in Rajasthan, India. The fort has the second longest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China.
If promenading on the path to enlightenment was your agenda for picking China, hear this before you hang your boots. You need to take inspiration from Buddha and “light a lamp, as it will brighten your path”. And that light will guide you to Ladakh, home of over a dozen majestic monasteries perched atop rocky cliffs. Or you can brave a journey through densely forested hills and snow-crowned peaks to Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh - ‘Land of Dawn-Lit Mountains’. Tawang Monastery is the largest monastery in India best visited with a local guide.
Pan towards Africa and Tilt-up to Scotland from Japan
Let’s shift focus from the ‘Land of Dawn-Lit Mountains’ to the ‘Land of Rising Sun’- Japan. This mystical & mythical land of all thing’s tech magnetises travellers by its unique booze-bars along lantern-lit alleys, whisky tours for which even God won’t mind standing in a queue.
But it’s not the end of the road; there’s light at the end of the tunnel emanating from the ‘Roof of Africa’ - Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This is the world’s highest volcano towering above at 5896m; you will find snow and ice just as you would have on your trail to the top of Mt. Fuji. The peak offers breath-taking views of farmlands and forests if you decide you take on its trails with a trekking guide. Tanzania is also home of the calm and courageous Maasai tribe known for their distinct style of dressing and practises which have remained unadulterated for centuries.
Japan has also been in the news for its rapidly draining whisky. The thirsty crows shouldn’t get ‘dispirited’, a change in the flight plan is all you need. Propel yourself to the Scottish Highlands, Speyside and Islay’s, for best in business distilleries. Kentucky and Tennessee in America are other delightful dram destinations where you can seek the elixir of your dreams.
Prayers are Answered Down South
Italy is numero uno when it comes to the number of World Heritage Sites and the heartbreaks it has given to travellers. What you need now is not a good therapist but a great travel agent who’ll show you other places on the planet which are second to none when it comes to boundless beauty of vineyards, deeply-rooted heritage and a cuisine ascetically curated over the centuries.
South Africa’s Cape Town is one such blessing where you can do all the swilling and swirling of the wine glass. Cape Town also emerges as the knight in shining armour and rescues those who couldn’t stop crying after seeing more pigeons than pedestrians at the Vatican Museums or the Piazza del Duomo; The Zietz Museum of Contemporary African Art has emerged as a global art hub over the last couple of years. Accompanying a local guide on a tour of this museum would be an enriching experience.
While Italy has Rome and pizzas, Peru has Cusco, Machu Pichu and has won the coveted title of the worlds’ best culinary destination four times in a row. You will start salivating even before you step foot in any of its restaurants.
P.S – Both Peru and Italy have places named Loreto.
Drop Anchor on the other end of Pacific
News has come from Down Under that Australia and New Zealand have put restrictions on inbound travellers. The situation there is not as grim. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. However, there’s good news coming from the other end of the Pacific Ocean.
Let’s begin with Argentina, the love child of Latin America and Europe. It is a one-stop-shop for all thing’s wanderlust and is a virtuoso wonderland. It can seduce even the most jaded traveller in a matter of milliseconds due to its rich and edgy culture and rambunctious fútbol fans.
Lace-up your trekking boots and conquer the ‘Cerro Aconcagua’, South America’s highest peak. Then, tread to the thundering Iguazu Falls to nestle in the unrestrained beauty of nature. Sign up for a Tango masterclass and accomplish another ‘feat’.
Knock >> Knock >>
It’s urgent Tina; we must leave before it gets crowded.
The ‘New’ New Zealand
Madagascar is a gift that keeps on giving. Replete with flora and fauna and epic landscapes, it is an alluring honey pot filled with adventures like hiking, mountain biking, diving, and rock-climbing - the list goes on! If you are someone who feeds off adrenaline, you’ll leave home over-weight from here.
Madagascar is the backyard of the biggest baobab, also known as the ‘Mother of Forests’. Isalo is Madagascar’s wildlife haven; it’s Madagascar’s adaptation of the Grand Canyon in America. And you can dive deep into the quaint waters of the Indian Ocean to wash off all the stress from the treks.
One should take every precaution and sensible measures to minimise the risk of any kind of exposure to protect oneself.