I’m longing to get back out there travelling post Covid-19, but we’re in lockdown for now and our borders will remain closed for some time. So, to keep our dreams alive, I’ve reached out to a number of bloggers from around the world. I’ve asked them where they will travel to when they are free again. So here are some inspiring destinations from well-travelled bloggers, to get you thinking.
Uzbekistan – by Jiayi Wang
NOTE: take a look at the links in this post, as photography is amazing. You will want to go there!
Uzbekistan is hands down one of the most breathtaking, remarkable and underrated countries I’ve been to. This double-landlocked Central Asian country played a big role in the Silk Road and as a result, has seen a great mix of cultures, philosophies and religions throughout the course of its history. I have been lucky enough to visit Uzbekistan twice and can say I can’t wait to get back there, post Covid-19.
I recommend a relaxing 10-day Uzbekistan itinerary that focuses on the three main cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. Be prepared to see lots of incredible Persian-style architecture, from hypnotizing mosaic tiles to majestic minarets that look straight out of a chapter of One Thousand and One Nights. If you’re passionate about history and architecture, then you’re definitely in the right place. If you’re a photography fanatic, you’re in great luck too. This country is a photographer’s dream. The ancient city of Samarkand, is filled with jaw-dropping mosques and madrasahs that will leave you utterly speechless.
It’s incredibly easy to get around Uzbekistan on your own. High-speed trains connect all the main cities, and they’re very comfortable. Uzbekistan is also a very safe country with a very low crime rate. But what really keeps me going back to this country are Uzbek people. They are genuinely some of the nicest folk you’ll ever meet, going out of their way to welcome you and help you out. Their kindness is pure and sincere it will leave a lasting impression on your heart.
A full Uzbekistan travel guide and individual city guides can be found on The Diary of a Nomad.
Oman – by Jiayi Wang
Oman is a beautiful, diverse country I’m looking forward to revisiting post Covid -19. It has something to offer to every traveller. If you’re into history and architecture, there are plenty of ancient fortresses and stunning mosques to captivate your attention. If you enjoy hiking or swimming, the numerous wadis, mountains and waterfalls in the country will definitely impress you. If you’re just looking to relax and have a stress-free holiday, you can soak up the sun on one of the many Omani beaches or stargaze into the wee hours of the night in the desert.
The ideal Oman itinerary involves spending at least 10 days in the country. I recommend starting your journey in Muscat, the bustling seaside capital. Then make your way to Wadi Shab and Bimmah Sinkhole, two beautiful natural wonders you can swim in. You can then visit the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve in Sur to watch turtles come out of the ocean and dig their nests on the beach, a truly magical experience. Then, I recommend heading to Wahiba Sands Desert for a change of scenery. Camel riding and dune bashing are two of the most popular things to do here. From there, head to the ancient city of Nizwa for some history and architecture before making your way to the Jebel Akhdar mountains for some trekking.
Oman is suitable for all kinds of vacations, whether you’re a family travelling with children, a couple planning a romantic getaway or a solo female traveller looking for new adventures. One thing I highly recommend is renting a car and exploring Oman by road – it’s the fastest and easiest way to get around.
More information and tips on travelling in Oman can be found on The Diary of a Nomad.
Indonesia – by Christin Theilig
Long before the world got in this precarious situation, travelling through Indonesia was my dream. Post Covid-19, I’m hoping to get back there.
Bali is a great starting point, easing you into this warmheartedly culture. Although it’s a relatively small island, you can explore remote waterfalls, eat at hip restaurants and visit the famous rice terraces. A scent of sandalwood in the air, ornate temples and an all-embracing Balinese culture will make this an unforgettable place.
However, there is so much more to Indonesia. One of it’s hidden gems is Sulawesi, one of the main islands. Idyllic uncrowded beaches and grande dive sites can be found at Pulau Bunaken. The unbelievable rich coral drop-offs are some of Asia’s best snorkelling and diving.
Tana Toragan is also another highlight where you can learn about the indigenous Toragan people.
Sumatra, another of the main islands is a nature and wildlife lover dream. At the Gunung Leuser National Park, you can experience the jungle or go on a trekking safari in Bukit Lawang to spot the wild orangutans.
Off the tiny island of Palau Weh, you can swim with sharks and turtles in a coral garden.
On the far east of Java is Ijen Crater (Kawah Iljen). It’s a physically strenuous walk to the crater, but well worth it for the incredible view of the turquoise crater lake.
Komodo National Park, situated in the Lesser Sunda Islands, is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the New7Wonders of the World. It’s the home of the rare Komodo Dragon. Famous also to Komodo Island, is the pink beaches. The beaches get their unique colour from a microscopic organism called Foraminifera. Off the island, you can also swim with manta rays, sharks, giant turtles and dugongs.
For now, I need to calm the travel-itch and patiently wait until I can return, post Covid-19.
Bhutan – by Neethu Nair
Bhutan is an Eastern Himalayan country, landlocked by India in the south and China in the north. It’s one of the smallest countries in Asia, with a population of less than 800,000. Some call Bhutan, the “Switzerland of Asia” because of its size, shape and location in the mountains.
Bhutan is a place I desperately want to get back to post Covid-19, because of the mountains, often shrouded in fog. It is home to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery, also known as Paro Taktsang, a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, perched precariously on a cliff at 10,240 feet above sea level.
From trekking to exploring your spiritual side, Bhutan has a lot to offer. Sites include the Buddha Dordenma, a statue of Buddha standing 51 metres high with 125,000 smaller Buddhas inside it.
The Dochula Pass is one of the most beautiful mountains passes in the world, decorated with small chortons, telling a story of spirituality, bravery and Bhutanese culture. Splendid views of the snow-covered Hilmaltas can be seen from the pass.
Every city in Bhutan is unique in its own way. Be it the absence of any traffic lights or their love for chillies, Bhutan is exotic. Tasting their national dish, ‘Ema Datshi,’ made from chillies, cheese and their favourite butter tea (Suja) is just one of many memorable experiences you will have.
The Bhutanese people are friendly and humble, fiercely protecting their land and culture, it’s heartwarming.
China – by Wendy Werneth
I have been to China six times and can’t wait to get back when international travel is back up for grabs. For many people, China will probably be the last place they want to go, given it’s where Covid-19 originated. But, while there are plenty of negative things I could say about the Chinese government, one positive thing about its heavy-handed approach to governance is it was extremely effective to mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. I have no doubt, post Covid-19 when borders reopen, they will take every precaution to prevent any further spread of the virus.
China is a huge country but, no matter how much time you’ve spent there, there’s always something more to see. On my last visit in 2019, I returned to a place called Zhangye in remote Gansu province. I had first visited the area 10 years earlier, but that was before the so-called Rainbow Mountains had been “discovered” and opened for tourism. This huge, multi-coloured mountain range is one of the most spectacular natural wonders I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to believe in 2009, I was just a few kilometres away but had no idea it was there because it hadn’t been written about in any guide books.
On my next trip to China, I’d like to explore some more of its lesser-known provinces. Of the country’s 23 provinces, there are seven that I still haven’t been to; Shandong, Fujian, Henan, Hubei, Hainan, Guizhou and Ningxia.
Having climbed Emei Shan, in the Sichuan Province, one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains, I’m keen to climb one of the other three or one of the five sacred Taoist mountains, in the Shandong Province. I would also like to visit the city of Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius. But more than anything, I want to immerse myself in Chinese culture and improve my Chinese conversational skills. I’ve studied the language off and on for more than 10 years, but I find that I forget it very quickly if I don’t keep up a daily study routine.