Let him cast the first stone who has never made a list of dream destinations that you plan to visit in your lifetime. Sometimes I find myself putting together endless lists and I think I won’t have enough time to travel to all the places in the world I want to know. Still, I try to get the plans off the paper and tick off my wish list.
So, 2022 knocks at our door and is shown as another opportunity to try to put our dreams and travels into practice. For this year, I selected destinations in Asia, between large and small cities that carry a rich cultural heritage, as well as paradise beaches in Central America e train travel in Europe, that most seem to have come out of movie scenes.
Even in different countries and continents, for me, they all have aspects in common: beautiful landscapes, incredible cultural legacies and experiences that take me out of my comfort zone. Having contact with languages, foods and learning that are not part of my daily life is a unique opportunity to dive into new knowledge that I will take with me for life.
It is worth remembering that certain countries on the list, such as Italy and China, still have their borders closed to Brazilians due to the pandemic. – and since it’s for dreaming: I dream of travel, but I dream even more that this pandemic ends soon. Next, check out my wish destinations and get inspired to put them on your list as well – maybe we know at least one of them this year?
Squeezed between India and China, the mountainous country is smaller than the state of Rio de Janeiro and, even so, it holds countless mysteries and enchanting landscapes for us. To begin with, it was one of the first countries to measure national happiness through an index known as GNH (Gross National Happiness) – which made him known around the world for calling himself the happiest country in the world.
The capital is Thimphu, a city with just over 100,000 inhabitants and which has traditional architecture, with small houses and low-rise buildings. Exploring the local markets, enjoying the rice fields and contemplating the landscapes above 3000 meters must be enchanting! Be in the calm of the fields in Gangtey or in the temples in Punakha, crystal clear rivers, untouched forests and beautiful temples are some of the attractions that await us in the country.
One of the most famous symbols of Bhutan is the Taktsang Monastery – or Tiger’s Nest – a postcard situated at the foot of a mountain, 3,000 meters above sea level, and built in the 17th century by Buddhist monks.
The country is reached via Paro International Airport, which in itself is already a tourist attraction for the more adventurous: it is considered one of the riskiest airports in the world, as it is at an altitude of 2,200 meters above sea level and only certain pilots are allowed to land.
Lakes, mountains, lush fields and charming historic villages. So are the Dolomites, mountain range of the Italian alps considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO that spans five charming provinces.
Of stunning beauty, it is one of the most breathtaking regions in Italy and the world. Even though it is mountainous, the good news is that it can be visited at all times of the year and many travelers even make a day trip from Venice – which is not far from the heart of the region.
The charm of the small towns around the mountain range is to win us over even by photos. Cortina d’Ampezzo it is one of those places that house a historic center, five-star resorts and trendy restaurants amidst the rocky peaks.
Val di Funes is another unmissable region: belonging to Bozano, it is a valley that has the face of Switzerland and Austria, both in terms of scenery and local culture. There is the Santa Maddalena Village, made up of colorful houses and Germanic architecture. The lakes along the mountain range are also beyond attractive, such as the Braies lake and Lake Misurina.
In winter, the skiing becomes a popular activity, where the giant Dolomiti Superski Area complex – a union of 12 resorts totaling around 1,200 km of slopes that can be accessed with a ski pass – has slopes for all tastes and levels of difficulty.
Orient Express Train from Venice to London
It is, for sure, a dream trip with luxurious touches and an elegance that takes us back to the golden times of train crossings. Under the name of Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express, the train is the famous Orient Express, which operates routes across Europe under the Belmond brand – the same as the Copacabana Palace, for example.
Glamor and romanticism come together in the train cars, which are adorned with details art Deco and French-style polished cherry wood. The traditional train route is between Venice e London, but here the destination doesn’t matter much: the path and all the pomp offered to us is what matters.
Extravagant settings are part of the route, such as French countryside and Swiss Alpine valleys, while enjoying exquisite cuisine and renowned wines in one of three dining cars. Trips can take from one to up to six days, varying in prices and routes (you can also go to France, Turkey, and other parts of Europe), but the large suites – with a bed and an anteroom – or cabins are part of every experience.
IT’S one of the longest train routes in the world and impressive for its numbers: there are about 9,200 kilometers, connecting Russia from east to west and also Mongolia, China and the Sea of Japan. It has more than 100 years of history and covers eight different time zones. It’s a real adventure and an invitation to get to know different cultural centers in the Russian Empire and notice the differences between the landscapes along the long way.
There are three best-known routes on different types of trains: from Moscow to Beijing; Beijing to Moscow and from Vladivostok to Moscow. These are days of travel on the trains, which offer different categories of accommodation, from the simplest to the most luxurious and spacious. Wagons with restaurants and bars also fill our eyes and satisfy our stomachs with regional meals.
Full of cultural richness and beautiful landscapes, the trip has stops along the way and changes of scenery – from green fields, river valleys and snowy peaks.
Beijing and Shanghai, China
Home to more than 1.4 billion people, the most populous country in the world has the vastness of its territory as one of the reasons to visit. Its landscapes encompass deserts, mountains, lakes, rivers, coastlines and large cities with millions of inhabitants who seem to have come out of the future, but which hold a rich cultural heritage.
So, for me, a good start to get to know China would be Beijing, the capital of the “Asian dragon”. The big city contrasts modern architecture, such as the massive buildings of the Beijing National Stadium and the headquarters of CCTV, with historic sites, such as the red walls of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The food from Wangfujing’s street stalls, serving everything from seahorses to scorpions, also stirs my imagination.
In addition to the capital, another destination almost 1,400 km from Beijing is on my list: the emblematic Shanghai. With its skyscrapers in the financial center and on the banks of the Huangpu River, it is the largest city in China and one of the most cosmopolitan in this part of the world. Art galleries, sophisticated restaurants, luxury hotels and trendy bars are part of everyday life in Shanghai. It is interesting to note that the city also reserves some superlatives: it has the largest astronomy museum in the world it’s the tallest hotel in the world, both opened last year.
the historic Great wall of China, which cuts through the northern region of the country, and the Tibet, a territory known as the “roof of the world” because of its peaks – it shares Mount Everest with Nepal -, are other tourist attractions that are equally known around the world and that arouse my curiosity.
bathed by Caribbean Sea, which already raises our expectations, the small country in Central America it is home to about 400 thousand inhabitants and is filled with beaches with waters in shades of green and blue. THE Belize City It is the largest in the country and is home to Philip SW Goldson International Airport, the gateway to local destinations.
Deserted and paradisiacal beaches bring tranquility to travelers – just think of one of those images with coconut trees, shade, fine sands and blue waters and we will have a little corner in Belize. Diving is a very common attraction in the country where the scenarios are full of sandbanks, atolls and corals.
The islands are also popular attractions, with emphasis on Caye Caulker. The small island has hotels and guesthouses by the beach and colorful houses that give a local charm. On foot or by bicycle, you can easily explore the island from north to south. Saint Peter, on the island of Ambergris Caye, is also known for its beaches and calm.
In addition to the beaches, the country has a rich cultural heritage, where it is possible to visit Mayan civilization ruins, such as the archaeological sites of El Caracol and Xunantunich, both close to the Guatemalan border. Belize even entered the 2022 travel lists of international publications such as National Geographic, which highlighted the Selva Maya, and the Lonely Planet.
Reference: CNN Brasil