Hungry? This week’s World Travel Guide features stories that Mark Wiens himself would be proud of.
First, we chow down on the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred dish in Singapore. Next, we eat our way through Barcelona’s streets with tasty tapas. Finally, we end our journey sipping some of Sri Lanka’s finest tea following a feast of string hoppers, soaked in piping hot crab curry.
What this tiny island city lacks in size, it makes up for with a series of world-class attractions. And the all-new billion dollar Jewel lifestyle hub in Changi Airport bears the soul of this city. Also accessible from outside the airport, this section homes a collection of gardens, luxury stores, a canopy park, cinema and hotel.
However, for our world travel guide, the pick of the bunch here is the rain vortex, a waterfall that majestically drips from the glass roof to the ground floor of the Jewel. For the best experience, come at nightfall, as this spot transforms into a fascinating display of lights.
Singapore’s glitz and glamour is also rubbed off in the swanky Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay. The former accommodates the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, while the latter illuminates the night sky and could feature in the next Avatar film.
Despite oozing with extravagance, no trip to this island nation is complete without a pit-stop at the humble Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Chicken Rice & Noodle, the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred dish. Set in a hawker center, a communal-like eatery, this is where you come to experience Singapore, as a local.
Slovakia’s great outdoors, adorned with sky-piercing peaks and mirror-like still glaciers make it one of the best places to visit for a quick European getaway. And the High Tatras are the best place to witness nature’s shear beauty. The tallest range in the Carpathian Mountains homes the national icon of Mount Krivan, along with cascading waterfalls, alpine grasslands and an abundance of crystal clear lakes.
Next, for a taste of local culture, we head straight for Bratislava. This capital city homes the traditional baroque buildings and a Gothic Old Town. Meanwhile, the powder-white, grand Renaissance-styled Bratislava Castle is another gem worth visiting in this medieval city.
For those looking to further uncover Slovakia’s past, our world travel guide recommends a stay at Kosice. This ancient town accommodates St Elisabeth’s Cathedral, the largest of its kind in the country and the East Slovak Museum, which offers an extensive collection of 16th century art and silver coins.
Slovenia is gorgeous. And there is no doubting that. From the peaks of the Julian Alps to the depths of the Postojna caves, and the chills of the emerald lakes to the warmth of the Adriatic ocean, Slovenia has it all.
For our world travel guide, Triglav National Park is the best place to experience the country’s splendid landscapes. The Triglav Mountain is at the heart of this region, which explains why this wonder is considered a national icon. Additionally, the scenic Soteska Vintgar pathway, peaceful Lake Bohinj and the beautiful Vrsic Pass are all dotted along this massive national park.
If you’ve a couple of extra days to spare, spend them in Ljubljana. The capital city charms us with its minimalist architecture as it seamlessly combines the old with the new.
The medieval Ljubljana Castle and Central Market are a testament to the past, while the Tivoli City Park and the hip Metelkova art center pay homage to the city’s future. Additionally, the town’s huge student population has also led to the emergence of trendy bars and cafes, all of which add up to this being a great pit-stop for summer travelers.
150. Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands is an ecotourists delight and perfect for anyone looking to strip travel down to its purest form. Unlike many other paradise getaways, these islands do not share the same aura of prestige. Here, there are no swanky resorts and private butlers, instead, its you and the wildlife, set deep in the lush jungles.
For first time travelers, our world travel guide recommends beginning your trip in Honiara. This city homes the bustling Central Market that’s perfect for an early morning stroll. Additionally, the Vilu War Museum is a great place to check out for history buffs looking to get up close to World War II fighter planes and memorials.
However, in this part of the world, it’s all about the diving and snorkeling opportunities. Bonegi is the pick of the bunch, with wreck sites now transformed into artificial reefs, great for attracting colorful fishes.
151. South Africa
Warning! South Africa is not for the faint-hearted. If you can’t handle waking up to a kudu at your front porch, swimming with a Great White in the afternoon, taking on one of the world’s highest bungee jumps in the evening, and falling asleep with the roar of the lion in the background, then stay at home.
However, if you have what it takes, welcome to the home of the extraordinary. And Kruger National Park is the epitome of this tagline. This Nat Geo-approved game reserve is the ultimate safari experience. You have the chance to catch the elusive Big Five, while the tables are turned; you’re caged and these majestic beasts roam free. Also, consider squeezing in a trip to Lesotho while you’re here. You’ll thank us later.
Next, no trip to the land of the Springboks is complete without a pit-stop at Cape Town. Arguably one of the top travel destinations, this city is backup up by the stunning Table Mountain, so a pair of hiking boots is a must. Next, reward yourself for that sunrise hike with a trip to Boulders Beach. Although, you may have to share the waters with a penguin or two.
There’s a reason why fiesta is the most popular Spanish word known to the rest of the world. We have Madrid’s extravagant nightlife to thank for this. Additionally, a strong case can also be made for the popularity of the word siesta. Because, that’s what sounds best, especially after a taste of the impeccable Spanish cuisine and its fantastic wine pairings.
However, for the best of both worlds, our world travel guide is heading straight for the capital of the Catalan state. Aside from its gastronomic delight in creative tapas bars and party scene in boisterous basements, Barcelona is also renowned for its art and architecture. Park Guell’s whimsical, Gaudi-inspired, colorful buildings are a testament to this.
For more art inspiration, travel to Granada. Set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, this city is perhaps one of the world’s prettiest, with its grand fortresses paying homage to the royal Moorish architecture. And the awe-inspiring Alhambra is the most opulent example of this.
However, we’re not done yet. For adrenaline junkies, clear your calendars from the 7th – 14th July and test your wits with the annual Pamplona bull run. Alternatively, opt for the balcony seats of you chicken out at the end.
153. Sri Lanka
The recent terror attacks has undoubtedly led to an increase in security concerns. However, there has been no reports of ongoing threats. For a country handpicked by Lonely Planet as their Best in Travel 2019, Sri Lanka is ready to step out of India’s shadow and stake its claim to be one of the region’s top travel destinations.
Beaches here are an absolute must and Tangalle has some of the best. Its turquoise waters, swaying coconut trees, coastal wind and golden sun are the perfect antidote to wintertime blues.
However, for a more authentic experience, head out to Ella. Surrounded by a series of hills, dense vegetation and tea plantations, this town is the ultimate ecotourism spot. To soak it all in, get a taste of the mouth-watering, full bull-bodied, local cuisine. After all, if it’s good enough for Mark Weins, who are we to disagree?
Finally, for those looking to spot Sri Lanka’s epic wildlife, check out the Yara National Park which features elephants and the world’s largest density of leopards. Alternatively, hop on an excursion off Mirissa to catch dolphins and humpback whales live in action.
Next up on our world travel guide series, join us as we explore Suriname’s unparalleled diversity and uncover Togo’s beautiful landscapes. Alternatively, could Ed Sheeran’s Castle On The Hill be inspired by San Marino’s mountainous forts?