When we say “road”, we mean anything from scenic drives or rail routes to cruise excursions out at sea. As long as you’re all about the journey, you’ll looove these.
Start in Darwin, then take an epic 2,979-kilometre train ride across the continent to Adelaide, down South. The Ghan Expedition’s four-day, three-night rail route runs in cooler months between April and October.
In between, the expidition takes you to some of the most remote yet captivating parts of Australia, from a cattle station in the Outback and to the Coober Pedy opal-mining town.
Darwin and Adelaide might both be harbour towns, but each sport a unique personality of their own. Cruise around Darwin Harbour for gorgeous sunset views and try Crocodile Schnitzel at Tim’s Surf & Turf; in Adelaide, swim and plane-watch at West Beach, and check out the Adelaide Central Market for gourmet foods, books, and more.
No better way to end off trip by getting on the road again – take a short drive up the freeway to the picturesque Adelaide Hills and be rewarded with one of the most impressive wine regions in the world, where you can clink glasses at more than 60 wineries and cellars.
NEXT: Irrawaddy River, Myanmar →
Pandaw’s small luxury ships cruises you along the Irrawaddy River, and has daily guided shore excursions.
P.S. If you’ve read about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, you may worry about the safety of visiting such a country. This Irrawaddy River tour, though, is not in an affected area. For extra safety, consult your state department or foreign office, and follow its travel advisories.
The cruise serves Burmese favorites such as acacia tree leaf tempura (deep fried batter) and rice noodles as well as international fare like pasta.
Pit-stop in the ancient city of Bagan, which impresses with more than 2,000 red brick pagodas, and the 45 polished white-stone Buddhas at U Min Thone Se Pagoda on Mandalay’s outskirts is not-to-bemissed.
NEXT: Isaan, Thailand →
This state has nine major cities and the best way to see them is by four-wheel drive. Visit the temples dotting historical parks and green-blanketed mountains; shop Thai handicrafts and other knickknacks at low prices at each cities’ local markets.
The best time to visit? Hop into a pontoon boat to discover a floating field of lotus flowers at Udon Thani’s Red Lotus Sea, best observed between December to February; or, visit in November to experience the Loi Krathong festival, Thailand’s very own festival of lights that sees floating lanterns carrying candles and wishes magically illuminating the night sky.
Want more? Bordered by Laos and Cambodia, it’s relatively easy to explore these regions from Isaan, too.
NEXT: Halong Bay, Vietnam →
Getting to Halong Bay has been gruelling…until now. Hai Au Aviation offers Vietnam’s first seaplane service, which trims the typically four-hour journey from Hanoi to the Bay to 45 minutes.
Once there, cruises are one of the best ways to tour Halong Bay. Most will cover meals on board (expect lots of seafood!), and normally include activities like kayaking, cave exploration, massages and one-of-a-kind experiences like squid fishing or visits to the local villages.
NEXT: Johor Bahru and beyond, Malaysia →
Fancy a quickie? A quick getaway, we mean. Johor Bahru, the quintessential Red Dot getaway, is only a 30-minute drive away from Singapore.
Live it up for less at the cluster of affordable hipster cafes in Jalan Dhoby; or, shop luxury items at the Johor Premium Outlets, which houses the factories of Burberry, Levi’s and more.
From Johor Bahru, other Malaysian cities like Kuala Lumpur and Malacca are less than 3 hours away on wheels.
A tip: If you’re driving into Malaysia, ensure your petrol tank is at least three quarters full, as such is law. Besides, if you’re driving far enough, you’ll need to refuel, and you’ll still be able to take advantage of our neighbor’s cheaper fuel prices.
NEXT: Darwin to Adelaide, Australia →
From The Finder (Issue 288), November 2017
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