As the world slowly takes baby steps and adjusts to the new normal, it won’t be long till international travel gets back on track. While your travel bucket list may already be overflowing, we bring you some of the most pristine and undiscovered destinations around the world which will compel you to make some changes to your list
By: Prateeksha Guruji
Posted on: November 11, 2020
Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Image courtesy: Anton Shuvalov, Unsplash
In the wake of the pandemic, travel restrictions were perhaps the most obvious step to curb the spread of the virus. Needless to say, the travel bug in us is waiting to pack bags, catch a flight and land in a different time zone. From the towering beauty of the Eiffel in Paris to the historical treasure trove in the mountainous alleys of Petra, the world is replete with awe-inducing wonders that have garnered their rightful attention. And yet, the world that we call our oyster holds hidden and beautiful pearls that even the most enthusiastic of travelers are yet to discover.
Here are five such destinations around the world which have much to offer to tourists, right from their breathtaking natural beauty to their perhaps unknown historical heritage.
1. Reunion Island, France (Ile de La Réunion)
The volcanic landscape at Reunion Island, France
Nestled amid the jewel-toned aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean, the Reunion Island is an overseas department of the French republic in East Africa. This serene speck of an island offers awe-inducing tropical beauty. Whether you choose to sunbathe on the coconut-tree laden Grand Anse beach or go snorkeling in the waters of the Hermitage beach, Reunion Island is a haven for tropical climate lovers. The island’s diverse topography ranges from its beaches to its volcanic mountains and calderas - Piton des neiges and Cirque de Salazie respectively - which have been recognized by UNESCO as natural heritage sites and can be hiked through designated trails.
The colonial traces of the island are evident in the capital of the region, Saint Denis - a quaint commune dotted with Creole-style mansions - where you will see three different cultures - Indian, Creole and African - blending seamlessly with each other.
Reunion Island, France
Apart from Creole picnics, Indian temples and farm visits, the island also offers underwater painting workshops, tunnel ziplining and a luxurious stay in hotels like the Blue Margouillat. A visit to Musée de Villèle in Saint-Gilles-Les-Hautes gives a detailed account on the multicultural history of the island.
2. Phú Quốc, Vietnam
Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, Phú Quốc (pronounced as foo-kwok or foo-kwuck), is Vietnam’s largest island but also one of the most pristine. The district of Phú Quốc is made of 28 islands. While the main island is the hub of tourist activity, the rest of them are largely uninhabited and hence, exude quietude and serenity.
Offering the entire gamut of natural diversity, visitors can explore everything from glorious beaches, dense forests, mountainous trails and of course, the local culture. Wildlife lovers are in for a treat with a range of marine species that thrive under the sea near the island. The placid villages on the island will give you a sneak peek into the famous pearl farms and pepper farms.
Vinpearl Hotel, Phu Quoc, Vietnam
The signature fish sauce, considered to be the finest in the world, which is produced on the island is a must-buy from the local shops. Foodies can pacify their cravings and have a great view while choosing from a number of beachside restaurants and bars.
For those wishing to add some luxurious touch to their vacation, a stay in the Vinpearl Resorts & Spa will ensure that. With six properties (and the only hotel) on the island, Vinpearl promises quite a bit of indulgence. Including their floating spa huts and Asian architecture, this hotel group offers exquisite facilities for dining, a wildlife safari, a lush, sprawling golf-course and more.
3. Wine Trails of Countryside Philadelphia
Nothing soothes nerves like a glass of good wine, especially when you are surrounded with the verdure of Philadelphia’s countryside. The countryside of Philadelphia is the East Coast’s premier grape growing region and has two spectacular wine trails. Nestled amid scenic rolling hills, the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail harbors six wineries with tasting rooms. These year-round open wineries are all located within a 50-mile radius.
The Montgomery County Wine Trail, Pennsylvania’s smallest, is located 25 miles away from the Center city. Home to four wineries, the environs are right out of a romance novel with its 18th century taverns, lush parks and old stone houses. The offerings of the trail comprise 30 wine varieties including Reserve Reds, French Hybrid Whites, 100% Fruit Wines (no added flavors), Meads (Honey Wines), ciders, dessert wines and delectable Port wines.
Gastronomes will find plenty of restaurants that serve farm-to-table cuisine which will perfectly accompany the wine tasting experience.
4. Kokomo Private Island Resort, Fiji
If luxury is your middle name, the Kokomo Private Island Resort in Fiji is a must visit. The journey starts from the city of Nadi where the guests of this resort island are transported across jewel-toned blue ocean waters by a private Twin Otter seaplane or a helicopter. Comprising 21 luxury villas that also include five luxury residences, this lavish resort has everything a holiday needs. Couples can enliven their romantic quotient by relishing a cocktail in the resort’s Walker d'Plank, a casual restaurant tucked behind a cove and serving Asian inspired delights. There are two more restaurants on the property.
For families, there are special nanny services while every villa has a dedicated butler. Apart from a spa, there are also yoga classes for promoting relaxation and wellness among the guests. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in kayaking, paddleboarding, wave surfing or dive in the world-famous Astrolabe Reef known for its rich marine life. No less than a tropical reverie, this private island resort will surely be a rewarding destination post COVID-19.
5. Fogo Island, Canada
The winter landscape at Fogo Island, Canada
A secluded island surrounded by the overwhelming waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Fogo Island is perfect for those who wish to tune out from the world. Accessible by sea or air, the island is made of the towns of Fogo, Joe Batt's Arm-Barr'd Islands-Shoal Bay, Seldom-Little Seldom and Tilting. The dramatic topography of the island might seem unfamiliar to the very least, but the cultural activities and local charm of the towns will definitely change your mind. From museums to music festivals, the island has it all.
Fogo Island Inn, Canada
Perfectly attuned to the vibe of the island, the Fogo Island Inn rises like an outcrop from the rocky terrain. An award-winning hotel, the inn offers comfortable suites with a fireplace, a restaurant serving local cuisine and extraordinary floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the property that open to the views of the Atlantic ocean. Sounds dreamy right? Well, we are not in the habit of exaggerating. For a vacation in the lap of Newfoundland and Labrador’s unbridled nature, Fogo Island will help you disconnect.