Where else would we start?
India is, of course, home to the Taj Majal — you may have heard of it. And yet, there is so, so much more to see.
Places like Kashmir and Varanisi, for instance.
As per Tour My India, “One of the most incredible places in India, Kashmir is known for its enthralling beauty and is rightly nicknamed as the ‘Heaven on Earth’. With its Picturesque lakes, striking fruit orchards, verdant meadows surrounded with thick woods of pines and deodars, lush green gardens teeming with vibrant flowers and captivating valleys enclosed with snow-covered peaks of Himalayan and Pir-Panjal ranges – Kashmir seems to have directly made its way out from a picture postcard.
India is a land of cultures, religions and spirituality; therefore, an Indian exploration remains incomplete without a trip to the holiest city of Varanasi. Also known as the city of Moksha, the place holds a great religious significance for Hindus. Situated on the banks of sacred river Ganga, the city is believed to be more than 5000 years old. Bustling with enchanting ancient temples and holy ghats crowded with people performing various rituals and prayers, Varanasi makes for an ultimate spiritual holiday destination in India.
From paying homage to Lord Shiva in the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple, taking a dip in holy waters of river Ganga absolving your sins, revelling in the spiritual aura of the divine Ganga Aarti during evenings on the Dasaswamedha Ghat, taking a walk along the Ghats watching life flow by, exploring the chaotic and colorful streets teeming with life to gorging on its delicious Benaras ki Chaat or indulging in a unique shopping experience of musical instruments and world-renowned Benarasi Silk Sarees.”
The country looks absolutely beautiful. What are you waiting for?
You don’t need me to tell you that Thailand is absolutely gorgeous, but I will anyway.
It is gorgeous.
As per US News Travel, “Pure white sands, aquamarine waters and limestone cliffs await travelers who visit Thailand’s southwestern island of Phuket. Surrounded by the Andaman Sea and about an hour by plane from Bangkok, this island is a little piece of paradise, which comes with a relatively low price tag for everything from its accommodations to spa treatments and boat tours. But along with its tropical appeal, Phuket beckons to travelers wanting to experience its flavorful cuisine (think: lemongrass, lime leaves, chillies) and its rich culture, heavily influenced by its reigning religion: Buddhism.”
If you’d prefer to skip Phucket altogether, there are several more options for you to explore.
And, oh yeah, Bangkok is known to be home to some of the best street food on the planet. Make sure you’re hungry.
The Land of the Rising Sun — as historic as it is enchanting.
As per CNN Travel, “Let’s face it — most travelers can’t resist the magnetic pull of Japan’s former Imperial capital (794-1869), with its temples, shrines and (dwindling) ranks of geisha. Perhaps the ultimate Kyoto symbol — or at the very least its most Instagrammed attraction — Kinkaku-ji was built at the end of the 14th century.
For years, people have visited Kyoto to stay in its old ryokans and eat traditional, multi-course kaiseki meals. But they should also consider exploring the city’s new side. Entrepreneurs are gutting old teahouses and geisha houses and giving them new lives. Niti, located inside a former geisha house, is a sleek bar and cafe that seamlessly blends contemporary touches with Japanese tradition.”
If you’d rather do a pilgrimage, instead, CNN Travel recommends the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage, “The trail to Kumano leads to three sacred shrines. It’s a side of Japan not many tourists see. Monks, retired emperors, aristocrats and regular folk have been hiking this pilgrimage route since the Heian period (794-1192).
Arriving at the main ancient shrines and temples may be the ultimate goal, but visiting the Oji subsidiary shrines or strolling past towering cedar and cypress trees, water-logged rice paddies and neat green-tea plantations is also immensely pleasurable. You can take a private dip in the cloudy waters of the Tsuboyu bath in Yunomine Onsen. At 1,800 years old, the onsen is believed to be one of the oldest in Japan. Villagers use the water for soaking, cooking and even drinking. The geological wonder known as the Kawayu Onsen is also worth experiencing. A hot spring bubbles just below the rocky banks of the Oto River. All you have to do is dig a hole, wait for it to fill up and then plunk yourself down. Voila — instant personal onsen.”
Booking my trip right this second, be right back.
Ah yes, China — home to a few hundred people.
And by a few hundred, I mean 1.4 billion. If you go, do not get lost. It may be tough to find you.
That being said, go. immediately.
Take your pick — The Forbidden City, Potala Palace, Great Wall of China — go see them all, of course. And if you happen to find yourself in the mood to see the biggest waterfall in Asia, do not forget to stop by the Huangguoshu Waterfall.
They’ll be expecting you.