5 Breathtaking Destinations To Add To Your Travel Bucket List
The world is full of wonders waiting for us to discover, with some of these otherworldly destinations worth the extra mile. If you’re looking for a real escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday, hop onto a long haul flight to these faraway spots for a truly life-changing vacation, and take your HSBC Visa Infinite Credit Card for a seamless, elevated travel experience
1/5 Zakynthos Island, Greece
While Greece is best known for its capital Athens—one of the world’s oldest cities—and the romantic villages of Santorini, Zakynthos Island in the Ionian Sea is a beauty not to be missed. Nicknamed “the Flower of the Levant”, it boasts white powdery beaches like Agios Nikolaos, Alykanas and Tsilivi, surrounded by crystal-clear lagoons, and the ruins of a medieval Ventian castle that stands on the hill of Bohali, overhanging Zakynthos Town.
The perfect summer destination for water sports, divers and snorkelers will enjoy the dramatic sea caves and variety of marine life, which include moray eels, monk seals, and sea turtles. Above the waters, the island has a stunning shoreline dotted with cliffs and turquoise coves like Navagio, where a famed shipwreck from 1980 still sits on the beach. After dark, you’ll find the best night life experience in the eastern city of Laganas, with its endless parties at clubs, bars, and pubs that line the streets.
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A lost city that was only rediscovered in the nineteenth century, Petra in Jordan is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a history that dates back to as early as 9,000 BC, the rose-coloured city—carved into red sandstone cliffs—is steeped in history and heritage. Discover a metropolis of tombs, monuments and religious structures from the once flourishing capital of the ancient Nabataean kingdom, which eventually declined into obscurity.
You’ll enter the city through the Siq, an impressive rock canal that is mostly created by natural rock formation. The road leads to the Treasury, a magnificent structure that stands at almost 40 metres high. It is crowned by a funerary urn, a memorial for royalty. Even more mammoth is the 48.3 metre-tall Monastery, carved with Hellenistic features and at the top of 850 stone steps. At night, explore the city under the light of 1,500 candles, as part of the “Petra Night Show” which offers a different facade to the mysterious city. With only 15 per cent of the sprawling site uncovered, there’s still plenty to discover from this centuries-old city.
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A country off the southeast coast of Africa, and also the fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar boasts an incredible biodiversity and various natural wonders—over 90 per cent of its wildlife cannot be found anywhere else in the world, including lemurs. Adventurers and nature lovers have plenty of places to explore, such as the Avenue of the Baobabs, a protected site of baobab trees, a legacy of dense tropical forests that were cleared for agriculture over the years.
Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park features otherworldly landscapes that you have to see to believe. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park’s two geological formations, the Grand Tsingy and the Petit Tsingy—forests covered in sharp limestone pinnacles—have earned it the nickname of “Forest of Knives”. As ominous as it may sound, the breathtaking landscape is a sight to behold, and supports a plethora of wildlife too, some yet to be discovered.
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(Related: Tatler Itinerary: Wine Tasting To Luxury Safari—How To See It All In South Africa)
Gobi Desert, China/Mongolia
Embark on a nomadic adventure in the sprawling desert of Gobi, which extends from Mongolia to northern China. The desert is Asia’s largest desert, and also the fifth largest in the world. While this means you’ll be spending most of your hours in the car between destinations, the stunning landscapes and sceneries in the “Land of the Blue Sky” are definitely worth your while—from billowing sand dunes to ice-filled canyons.
Visit the Khongoryn Els for some of the most spectacular and colossal sand dunes you can find in Gobi, which can go up to 300 metres high and are about 100 kilometres long. They are also beautifully christened Duut Mankhan, which means “singing dunes”, due to the sound they make when the wind blows. Yolyn Am, also known as the “Vulture’s Gorge” is a sight to behold. Sheets of ice tint the dramatic cliffs blue year-round, well-protected from sun and heat by the rocky walls. Travellers with a thirst for adventure can try their hand at excavating fossils, afterall, Gobi is know to be the largest fossil reservoir in the world—you never know when you may get lucky.
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(Related: Krystal Tan Does Travel The Way You Have Been Dreaming About)
With scenery straight out of a picture-perfect postcard, there’s a certain ethereality to the “iceberg capital of the world," where you can simply watch glacial ice float by outside your window. Located in western Greenland and approximately 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Ilulissat—which literally means “iceberg” is the third largest settlement in the country, as well as its centre of culture and tourism.
UNESCO World Heritage Site lulissat Icefjord is the main attraction, a six-kilometre wide and 55-kilometre long fjord filled with icebergs that calve from Sermeq Kujalleq, the fastest moving glacier in the world. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature as you watch this moving gallery of natural ice sculptures. To add to the magic, the aurora borealis lights up winter nights with its enchanting displays. Inside the colourful town, learn about Ilulissat’s history as well as the stories of early Arctic expeditions at the Ilulissat Museum, housed inside the birth house of Arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen.
(Related: Here's How To Make Your Travel Experience Extraordinary)
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Need to make a hotel booking or a reservation at the hottest restaurant? Simply call upon your dedicated Infinite Travel & Lifestyle concierge for personalised assistance at any time of the day, wherever you are. With HSBC Visa Infinite Credit Card as your companion, no destination is out of reach.
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**This insurance policy (Policy Number: P1594678) is underwritten by AXA Insurance Pte Ltd. It is not an obligation of, deposit in or guaranteed by, issued by HSBC Bank (Singapore) Limited (Company Registration No. 201420624K).