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Don't worry about the visa: Make last-minute international travel plans to Laos, Fuji & Jordan

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 29, 2018, 07.22 AM IST
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Make year-ender travel plans
As the year is drawing to an end, it is time to look at our list of resolutions to make sure we’ve met our goal. A travel plan is always a part of every New Year’s resolution list and if you’ve not been able to achieve much on that list, you can still achieve that travel goal. If you are looking to set foot on foreign soil, you can pick one of the destinations proposed in the issue today.

Pick a destination that’s easy access by flight so that you aren’t wasting too much time on travel. Choose a unique experience that you’ve always wanted to try and plan your holiday around it.

INDONESIA (VISA ON ARRIVAL)

ADVENTURE GALORE!: Rafting along the River Ayung calls for amazement and joy as the rapids slap you with the fresh water (Pic: Shireen Kanchwala)
ADVENTURE GALORE!: Rafting along the River Ayung calls for amazement and joy as the rapids slap you with the fresh water (Pic: Shireen Kanchwala)

Bali, in Indonesia is popular for its beaches. Although, the island offers a lot more; try white water rafting at the Ayung River valley near Ubud.

During the course of rafting, you have a chance to discover hidden waterfalls; swim in the pristine water and soak up the spectacular scenery of the Ayung River Valley.

LAOS (VISA ON ARRIVAL)

GREEN PRACTICES: Cycling is an environment friendly and healthy method to explore a new destination (Pic: Kunal Gupta)
GREEN PRACTICES: Cycling is an environment friendly and healthy method to explore a new destination (Pic: Kunal Gupta)

Once a well-kept secret, the jungle-clad mountains, ancient temples and history of Laos, in south-east Asia has attracted the likes of many avid travellers.

If you are looking for a hardcore adventure then a bike tour through one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in South East Asia is just perfect. Set off from Luang Prabang, you enjoy a chance to ride through lush mountain range, stopping by to greet small communities of Hmong and Khmu hill-tribes throughout.

FIJI (VISA ON ARRIVAL)

UNWIND: Try a traditional Fijian Bobo massage in the outdoors to rejuvenate your mind and body (Pic: TourismFiji)
UNWIND: Try a traditional Fijian Bobo massage in the outdoors to rejuvenate your mind and body (Pic: TourismFiji)

Fiji, in the South Pacific Ocean, is another beach-decked jewel, which offers a scrumptious cuisine, cultural tours and soft adventures. If you are looking for a hardcore adventure then a bike tour through one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in South East Asia is just perfect.

Set off from Luang Prabang, you enjoy a chance to ride through lush mountain range, stopping by to greet small communities of Hmong and Khmu hill-tribes throughout. Fiji, in the South Pacific Ocean, is another beach-decked jewel which offers scrumptious cuisine, cultural tours and soft adventures.

After all your muscles go sore from all the water sports, try a traditional Fijian Bobo massage in the outdoors to rejuvenate your mind and body.

JORDAN (VISA ON ARRIVAL)

PERFECT PANORAMAS: Tandem parasailing allows you to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Jordanian landscape
PERFECT PANORAMAS: Tandem parasailing allows you to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Jordanian landscape

Furthermore, the coastal city Aqaba, Jordan, is hotspot for water sports and the gateway to land-based adventures.

Try your hand at tandem parasailing and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the landscape.

VIETNAM - VISA REQUIRED (pre-apply online)

Vietnam’s Halong Bay’s limestone islands are an iconic tourist spot of the country. Apart from the picturesque Halong Bay, visit the longest dry cave in the world- Paradise Cave.

Thereafter, head over to mountains of Cao Bang for pristine air and untouched landscape. Con Dao Islands’ reefs and coves, Mekong Delta’s backwaters and the national parks are some other iconic points.

BRIDGE THE GAP: The Golden Bridge on Ba Na Hill near Danang city in Vietnam is an architectural marvel
BRIDGE THE GAP: The Golden Bridge on Ba Na Hill near Danang city in Vietnam is an architectural marvel

Vietnamese culture features an intoxicating blend of different influences; the Indian/Hindu influence in the South is seen across the architecture in temples and cuisines; Chinese in the North; Vietnamese in the centre reflected across the port of Hoi An, royal tombs, pagodas.

Apart from these cultural influences, marvel at the modern day wonders of Vietnam. Visit the recently unveiled Golden Bridge, a 150-metre long pedestrian bridge, near Da Nang, Vietnam.

Food remains at the heart of Vietnamese culture
Food remains at the heart of Vietnamese culture

Weird But True: Ruou ran, also known as snake wine has pickled snake in a rice wine that is commonly drunk for health, vitality and restorative purposes in Vietnam.

SRI LANKA - VISA REQUIRED (pre-apply online)

The palm-fringed Sri Lanka offers the best of landscape, wildlife, solitary hills and a deep essence of Buddhism. Winter is the perfect time to visit this island nation. Its coastline is decked with many jewels- the southwest of which offers surfing in Hikkaduwa, Galle or Bentota.

Spotting the gentle giants of the ocean is one of the most breathtaking sights you can experience. Head over to the breeding grounds from Negombo and you are most likely to spot the blue and sperm whales. You also have a chance to spot and be amazed by the dolphins. In its interiors are lush jungles and hills swathed in tea plantations.

BEACH LIFE: The beaches of Sri Lanka are perfect to lounge and surf too
BEACH LIFE: The beaches of Sri Lanka are perfect to lounge and surf too

Sri Lanka offers sites and astounding levels of natural environment: Yala National Park; Sigiriya Rock; Uda Walawe National Park with elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards; Elephant Ride at Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and Bundala National Park with its waterways, lagoons and dunes. This makes it a perfect family getaway.

The magical Aukana Buddha, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic housing a tooth of the Buddha, the beautiful Dambulla Cave Temple, Polonarruwa, the 800 years old ruling place of the kings satiate the soul. If all doesn’t win you over, the spicy meals that are perfect amalgamation of Chinese, Japanese and Indian influences will surely win you over.

Wow Factor: Did you know that ‘serendipity’ is derived from ‘Serendip’, the old name of Sri Lanka used by the Arabs and Persians?
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