A quarter of 2019 has passed and yet seat sales to various flight destinations keep on coming. And we say yes, seat sales are always welcome.

But where should we go and what should we do? Preferably somewhere new, exciting, and not many people in the Philippines have Instagrammed. 

Here are seven travel destination suggestions we think you might love. Most are in Asia, and some are a little bit outside of it. But nevertheless, each destination carries something special and we hope you’ll think so, too!

Vietnam

Hội An is a port city that is rich in history. It is also known as a UNESCO-protected “Ancient Town,” but Hội An is not just for knowledge culture. Beach resorts also abound, allowing visitors to enjoy both nature and history. And then there’s the food, which reflects Hội An’s history of trading spices.

Aside from Hội An, another place worth visiting is the Golden Bridge of Sun World Ba Na Hills, which can be found at Trường Sơn Mountains of Da Nang in central Vietnam. The Golden Bridge is THE place that launched more than a thousand photos on Instagram. And it’s easy to see why. Golden Bridge is so breathtakingly picturesque. It’s a grand bridge set against the backdrop of a vast and verdant hillside held by two giant stonehands.

Special events are also set to put Vietnam on everyone’s must-visit list in the coming years, such as the government’s plan to host Vietnam’s first Formula One Grand Prix race in 2020. 

India

When we hear India, we often think of spicy Indian food, men in turban, and Bollywood. For those of us who enjoy watching Bollywood movies, a trip to Mumbai to experience the city’s creative energy is worth considering. And Mumbai not only has the film, it also has the food.

In the past, there was a fierce battle between Delhi and Mumbai’s cuisine, but now it has been put to rest, with Mumbai declared as the capital of good food. It is said out of 50 top restaurants in India, 14 can be found in Mumbai.

If that’s not enough reason to seriously consider visiting India, perhaps it would interest you to know that 2019 marks the 150th birthday of Gandhi, which means that this year is a historic point in time for India. But if you have no idea who Gandhi is, well, there’s Google for that…

China

Can we do Chengdu? Perhaps we can. This city has been cosmopolitan since ancient times, having been located at the Silk Road. Its people are known to be laidback and global. And the city’s major draw are its giant pandas and its delicious hotpot.

But what sets Chengdu apart from other Chinese cities is its openness to the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+  community is quite colorful and visible there that any member of the LGBTQ+ is sure to find some sort of rainbow connection.

Culture also abounds Chengdu, in particular, the trailblazing and bordering-on-the unconventional side of contemporary Chinese culture. The Eastern Suburb Memory Complex, for example, features some of the best fashion and art in China. China’s vibrant tattoo culture can also be found here as artists in this city also tend to double as tattooists. The target market for these tattoos are the millennials who strut their inked skins along Tai Koo Li luxury shopping hub, making this place a space for living art as well.

Chile

If you’re into stars and skies and all those romantic things, you might want to put Chile on your must-see list. On the 2nd day of July, eclipse chasers in-the-know will flock to Elqui Valley for the total solar eclipse. Because it lacks artificial light, Elqui Valley was hailed as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary—the world’s first. Moreover, this is also the favorite place of scientists and stargazers as the valley houses a good number of observatories.

Nature lovers will also enjoy Elqui Valley’s nature trails and global quality wines. Another must-try is the pisco, said to be Chile’s “national spirit.” You can have a taste at Elqui Valley’s various distilleries.  

United Arab Emirates

You’ve already heard of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but probably not Sharjah. Sharjah, which is slowly but steadily being hailed as an international arts and culture hub, is a small emirate where some of the UAE’s heritage buildings can be seen in all its well-preserved glory. It also houses world-class museums such as the Sharjah Art Foundation. Other points of interest include the Sharjah Biennial and the Sharjah Architecture Triennial. So, if you ever find yourself roaming Dubai, why don’t you make a detour to Sharjah? By taxi, it’ll take you around 25 minutes to get there. But if you’re trying to save, you can also take an hour or so bus ride to Sharjah.

Augmented and virtual attractions

Last but not least in our list is… augmented attractions. Armchair travel has been upgraded from sci-fi to smartphone. During my time (and yes, I may be inadvertently revealing my age here), armchair travel meant sitting on the most comfortable chair ever, holding a TV remote control on one hand and chips or whatever food on the other, and flipping channels, as if you’re hopping from one destination to the next.

Augmented reality (AR) gives us as a super enhanced experience of reality by way of superimposing digital information from our perspective through the help of a smartphone. Choose from a number of apps which give almost-real and jaw-dropping 360-degree content. All you need is your smartphone and you can start traveling to your heart’s content. If you have a virtual reality (VR) headset, you can take that route, too. Through AR and VR, you can visit places and luxurious hotels you’ve always dreamed of—all within the comfort of your home.   

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