#TRAVEL
Must-Visit Destinations

Plan ahead, book your tickets, apply for leave and maybe even pack your bags in advance for these three countries!

By Balvinder Sandhu      16 February 2018

While there are some evergreen travel destinations that are great for a vacation each year, there are also some that have become the centres of attention in recent years. As such, why not consider some of the following places for your travel plans?

Chile (Above)

www.chile.travel/en

Geographically, Chile is a fascinating country, sometimes called a “sliver” of a nation in South America. In fact, it is somewhat isolated, lodged between the Andes to its east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The capital, Santiago, is Chile’s largest city and its most cosmopolitan. It provides a good mix of attractions, with a plethora of dining options, museums and galleries, vibrant markets and an exciting night-life scene.

Chilean wine, one of the so-called “new world” wines, has gained so much popularity in recent years that a visit to one of the many wineries is a must-do. And, thanks to Santiago’s close proximity to the countryside, the Pacific-facing beaches and the majestic Andes, it’s a perfect base for day trips that would offer a wide range of holiday experiences. If you plan to visit during winter in the Southern Hemisphere (June to August), you’ll be able to fit in some skiing too.

Northern Ireland

www.tourismni.com

This is a destination that is a hot favourite with travellers, its popularity having been given a further boost by on-location filming for the popular TV series Game of Thrones. Once an industrial town with a colourful and painful history of conflict, Belfast has emerged as another vibrant capital city in Europe, with a good mix of culture and a bustling food and drink scene. Go for a pub crawl in the Cathedral Quarter, explore the Titanic Quarter (where the famous ship was designed, built and launched), and check out St George’s Market, where you can try Northern Irish staples such as Belfast baps (round bread sandwiches with hearty, savoury fillings) and a mix of cuisines from all around the world.

Belfast is also where you can enjoy a scenic coastal drive, taking in some of the Game of Thrones locations and the beautiful Giant’s Causeway, which is Northern Ireland’s first UNESCO Heritage Site.

Bhutan

www.tourism.gov.bt

It’s one of the most remote kingdoms in the world – tourism was only initiated there in 1974 – and a lot of what goes on is a mystery to many. But Bhutan is an excellent choice for a holiday, especially for trekking enthusiasts. The mountainous region of the Himalayas makes it ideal for hiking and climbing, with your route lined with natural attractions such as pristine mountain lakes and imposing glaciers.

There is a variety of treks to choose from – depending on your level of experience and how much time you have – and they range from a day’s hike to 25 days of adventure (and everything else in between too). Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the best times to visit, but they are also the most popular periods, so do try to book way in advance. It does get cold in December and January, and the monsoon season between June and August sees a lot of rainfall, so leave vigorous outdoor activities out of your programme during these months.

Within the capital of Thimphu, you can also have a nice meal, go to the cinema, and even visit a local discotheque. It could turn out to be quite an enjoyable experience.

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