Travel influencer & digital creator @stepha5nie (Stephanie Alsay) of Miami, Fl shares her top 5 picks using photos to show her favorite locations. Where is your favorite place to travel to and why? Tag #MYXTRAVEL on Twitter with your answers, tagging @myxglobal.
After a long and difficult year, travel is starting to look up for 2021. While many places around the world are enforcing strict lockdowns or remain off limits, many countries are starting to open their doors, with the right health and safety protocols in place. If you’re like me and can’t wait to travel post-pandemic, here are some of my favourite places that I recommend you should visit:
My great love for travel and adventure has led me to some of the most beautiful places in the world and one of my favourites is Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has a vibrant cultural history and is home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I explored the country by train in 2018 and the island nation offered me such a diverse range of experiences.
On a good note, Sri Lanka’s borders were officially reopened to international travelers on January 21st.
Visit the sacred city of Kandy
You can explore Kandy by hiring a tuktuk driver to tour you around for a day to visit some beautiful attractions like the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue.
The Buddha Statue sits atop the Bahirawa Kanda hill where you can get an amazing panoramic view of Kandy.
From Kandy, I travelled by train to Ella. The journey by train from Kandy to Ella is considered one of the most picturesque train rides in the entire world. I definitely recommend getting a window seat for this train ride. Booking a ticket 1-2 days in advance also helps guarantee a good spot. However, I bought my ticket last minute and got a third-class ticket, where you can sit at the doorways. I didn’t mind third-class though; the friendly locals made the experience so much more memorable.
Visit the lush country town, Ella
Morocco is a large country with legendary scenery. From riding camels in the Sahara to snowboarding in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco is full of stunning destinations that are absolutely worth the trip. As I traveled through the medinas in different cities, I saw textiles and architecture as vibrant as the locals. Magical Morocco is definitely a photographer’s dream. And if you’re a foodie like me, you’ll love the dining scene in Morocco as their cuisine is one of the most fascinating in the world with heavy influences from Arabic, Berber, French, Italian and Spanish flavours.
Nepal can seem overwhelming at first, but I definitely enjoyed the culturally rich and spectacular landscapes. Although widely known as a hiking destination, Nepal is more than just Mount Everest and the Himalayas; it’s home to beautiful temples, tea fields, lakes and so much more.
If you travel to Nepal, you will most likely land in Kathmandu first. Some of the most widely known religious monuments include the Swayhambhunath and Boudhanath stupas. You can also go on short treks in the hills that surround Kathmandu where you can see the Himalayas on a clear day.
Away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu is Pokhara. Most travelers stay around Phewa Lake. I took a trip a little outside Pokhara to go on a short hike early in the morning to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas, which was one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever witnessed in my life.
I knew next to nothing about Yogyakarta before 2018. All I knew was that it was home to the Borobudur Temple. Yogyakarta (pronounced Jogjakarta) is one of Indonesia’s spectacular cultural gems, located south of Central Java. Borobudur is a massive Buddhist temple with 72 bell-shaped stupas. You can do a lot of activities in Yogyakarta aside from visiting temples such as trying out ‘gudeg’, a local dish, or go off-roading on Mount Merapi.
Although Bali has become highly commercialized the past few years, it’s still one of my favourite travel destinations that I constantly revisit. It’s a popular destination to travel year-round where you can find some of the most gorgeous accommodations. From staying in an all-bamboo tree house in the middle of the rice fields to living in a private luxury villa, you’ll find a wealth of amazing accommodation choices in Bali.
Spain is guaranteed to impress you any day of the week. The country has amazing food, renowned beaches and vibrant cultural festivals. As of now, travel is quite restricted for non-EU citizens but it’s definitely a must-visit as soon as the pandemic is over.
Barcelona is a must-visit European city, with its iconic Sagrada Familia church and renowned night life. You can watch some flamenco, hit the beach or gorge on some tapas. Barcelona has something for everyone.
Seville is the capital of the Spanish region of Andalusia and is home to three UNESCO world heritage sites. It is also known for having some of the best tapa bars in Spain. Most people in Spain don’t go out to eat until 8 or 9pm so the restaurants and cafés are still bustling quite late at night. As a compact city, Seville is super walkable. But just a fair warning, the heat can reach scorching temperatures during the summer months of July and August.
More info on Stephanie Alsay @stepha5nie:
Born in the Philippines and based in Miami, Stephanie’s love for travel started during a study abroad trip to France in 2015. Since then, she has been to 6 continents and 73 countries. After working at the UN Development Programme, she grew her passion for sustainability and is determined to increase consciousness on earth while enjoying a life full of adventure.