Experience the world from a different perspective; here are 10 themed holiday destinations for foodies, art critics, party animals and nature lovers
Foodie escapes in Bangkok, Bologna and Lima
With the chance to eat freshly made pad thai, tom young gang or Thai green curry every day – which foodie wouldn’t fall in love with Thailand?
For a luxury dining experience in Bangkok, treat yourself by heading to Bo.Lan (24 Sukhumvit 53). This Michelin-star restaurant is a 6-minute walk from Thong Lo Skytrain station. To keep a minimum carbon footprint, chefs Jones and Songvisava (husband and wife) built a vegetable garden on-site, along with a water filtering system and waste recycling scheme. The food here, served family-style just like how Thai food should be enjoyed, offers an unforgettable sensory experience.
For some street food extravaganza with a good hygiene standard, we recommend the food court in Terminal 21 which is just around the corner from Sukhumvit metro station. From roast duck to mango sticky rice, the food here is varied, delicious and extremely affordable.
Italy is one of the best destinations for food and Bologna, capital of Emilia-Romagna, is undoubtedly the best city in Italy to savour culinary excellence.
Must-try dishes in Bologna are tortellini served in broth, tagliatelle with ragù sauce and cotoletta (breaded veal). For a completely splurge-worthy experience, visit A Balus (Via del Borgo di San Pietro 9/2A) where classic dishes are paired with fine wine.
You can’t visit Bologna and not indulge in some creamy gelato. The lines outside Gelateria Gianni (via Monte Grappa 11) will make it incredibly easy to spot this well-known gelato parlour. Give yourself enough time to choose from the multitudinous flavours, from traditional favourites like strawberry or chocolate to unique combinations with equally unique names like Samurai (a delicious mix of mascarpone, ricotta and cocoa).
In just a couple of decades, Lima has gone from a stopping point on the way to the Inca Trail to now the best destination for foodies in South America. The thriving capital of Peru has seen plenty of chefs from around the world dragging their apprentices and TV crew around, trying everything from causa (layered potato) to ceviche (fish cured in citrus juices).
Central (Av Pedro de Osma 301), managed by chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, constantly wows diners with its innovative dishes. Malabar (Av Camino Real 101) in the San Isidro district is another gem that plays with ingredients from Peru’s Amazonian rainforest.
Insider tips: A foodie adventure may see you overindulged in food and drink. Don’t let that ruin your trip. Enjoy a long walk after each meal or pack some heartburn medications with you. If you’re visiting a place where food safety may be a concern, choose only well-cooked food.
Be inspired by works of art in St Petersburg, Doha and Somerville (Massachusetts)
The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg
The glorious Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Moscow, actually consists of six buildings – five of them are open to the public. The Hermitage has over 3 million works of art, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt and Rubens. It would take more than five years to tour the Hermitage, spending just one minute each display, assuming that the museum opens at all hours and every day.
The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha
Designed by the renowned architect I.M. Pei, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, has a heroic collection of paintings, glassworks, ceramics, textiles and ancient manuscripts.
There is also a shutter service linking this museum to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, another worthy diversion.
The Museum of Bad Art in Massachusetts
If you’re looking for an obscure art museum, head to the Museum of Bad Art in Somerville, Massachusetts, USA. This small venue aims to bring “the worst of art to the widest audiences”. Not any ‘bad’ piece can be accepted though, the museum has rejected many potential applicants simply because the works aren’t genuinely bad enough.
Eat, sleep, rave in Rio de Janeiro and Ios
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Cariocas (Rio locals) love to party. Whether it is a post-football match party, dancing on the beach or in a chic nightclub, an evening out in Rio de Janeiro is always a special experience.
Rio Scenarium (R do Lavradio 20) is a top samba venue, while Forsfobox (Rua Siqueira Campos143, Loja 22A) in the heart of Copacabana plays anything from rock to EDM.
Ios is a small island in the Aegean Sea with no great ruins or monuments to visit, so other than daytime water-sports, the only other thing on your itinerary is to party till the sun comes up.
The party season runs from mid-June to early September and the crowds are mostly beautiful twenty-somethings who are more laidback than the crowds on the island of Zakynthos.
Disco 69, Scorpion Night Club and Flames Bar, all in Chora the main town, are top favourites.
Insider tips: Drink to enjoy but know your limits, also keep a close eye on your drink. If you’re unable to go back to your accommodation with a person you trust, call a cab from a reputable company or seek help from the manager of the club.
Be one with nature in Taveuni and the Atlas Mountains
The untouched beaches, colourful coral reefs, and an exotic diversity of flora on the island of Taveuni in Fiji are a bucket-list item of many nature lovers.
The dive sites here are spectacular, particularly the Rainbow Reef that sits in the narrow Somosomo Strait between the islands of Taveuni and Vanau Levu. Regardless of how many times you have dived there, each dive still offers a delightful experience.
Back on land, the Bouma National Heritage Park has some wonderful hiking trails and waterfalls for explorers.
The Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Stretching some 2,500km (1,600 miles) across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, the majestic Atlas Mountains are one of the world’s most fascinating regions to travel through. The mountain range is split into six distinct sub-ranges and among them, the High Atlas is most popular with hikers as it is easily accessible from Marrakech.
Imlil, 90km (56 miles) south of Marrakech, is where most hikers start their journey into the High Atlas. Nature is at its best here – you can expect unfolded mountains views along the track. At night, lying under a blanket of sparkling stars and talking to a Berber host could possibly be one of the best experiences of your life.
For more information, check out this article The complete guide to exploring the Atlas Mountains.
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This article was updated in September 2020.