These itineraries, featured in our book Ultimate Journeys for Two, will captivate you for three weeks or more.
The Road From Bangkok
Phnom Penh and Bangkok are the best international airports to reach Siem Reap and the ancient Angkor Kingdom. Explore the temples, wrapped in strangler figs and frequented by monks. Take a couple days in Cambodia’s capital, then catch a riverboat to the Mekong Delta: The Rice Bowl of Vietnam. Shop the floating markets, bike the jungle, and private cruise to the islands. It’s an easy overland transfer to Ho Chi Minh City and onward to the massive dunes of Mũi Né. Sandboard, kiteboard, and kickback on the beach.
Fly into La Paz, Bolivia. Spend a few days in one the world’s highest cities, with fascinating indigenous markets and Spanish colonial architecture. Head north to Lake Titicaca, the spiritual birthplace of the mighty Incas and home to the Uros floating islands. Continue north to Machu Picchu and the Urubamba Valley or loop south towards the Department of Potosí. Road trip to the worlds largest salt flats, teal and pink crater lakes, and ultimately the moon-like Atacama Desert. Give yourself three days in San Pedro de Atacama where adrenaline and luxury find their happy place.
Beaches to Buddhas
Begin in dynamic Bangkok, exploring the canal neighborhoods by long-tail boat and hoofing it through night markets, royal palaces, and temples. Take the overnight train to Surat Thani and transfer to Khao Sok National Park for adventure-packed rainforest and lake excursions. Continue south to Phuket, and hop a ferry to the karst peninsula of Railay. Rock climb the sea cliffs and snorkel in the bioluminescent waters, before catching a plane from Krabi to Yangon, Myanmar. Spend a few days exploring this exotic British colonial city with one of the oldest stupas in the world. Continue to the idyllic Inle Lake, home to hill tribes and floating villages. For a grand finale, head west to Bagan with its 2,000 ancient temples.
Be sure to visit Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum before your safari in Kruger National Park. Game drive to spot the “big five” animals and over 500 bird species. South Africa is the land of epic road trips, with our favorite along the wine and whale routes of the Western Cape. Give Cape Town at least three days, then fly to Livingstone, Zambia for the legendary and thunderous Victoria Falls. Get your adrenaline fix on the Zambezi River then safari in South Luangwa National Park–one of the greatest unspoiled swaths of wilderness, with mighty rivers and flat terrain.
Rent a campervan in Christchurch and explore glaciers, rainforests, fjords, and spunky cities with our South Island road trip itinerary. Stop awhile in the Tasman district for a multi-day kayak, hike, bike, and wine tasting extravaganza. Say hello to the Aussies with a flight to Sydney for an exciting stopover or head straight to Cairns: the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree, one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Don’t leave Australia without experiencing the wilds of the outback. Wallabies, spot saltwater crocs, and rock art by one of the oldest living cultures await in the Top End.
From Punta Arenas, Chile cruise to the frozen continent, Antarctica. Standup paddleboard past the icebergs, hangout in penguin colonies, and take the polar plunge on your eight- to 11-day voyage. Returning to Punta Arenas, you’ll be in the heart of Patagonia. Torres del Paine awaits with the W Trek, Grey Glacier, and horseback rides from estancia to estancia. Cross the border and experience southern Argentina’s star park, Los Glaciares. Ice trek the ever-growing Perito Moreno and watch the sun come up over the Fitz Roy peaks.
Ride the rails across western Europe beginning in medieval Ghent. Enjoy the Flemish architecture along the canals with long strolls or outdoor cafes pouring Delirium on draft. Catch the train to Cologne, the heart of Rhineland, Germany and continue by rail or scenic riverboat to Rüdesheim, passing castles and vineyards of the Rhine Gorge. Revel in charming villages and eat Riesling ice cream until you are ready for the Swiss Alps. Pull into the Lauterbrunnen station, then continue by footpath, cable car, and via ferrata ladders to some of Switzerland’s most remote and scenic mountain towns.
Excerpted with permission from Ultimate Journeys For Two: Extraordinary Destinations on Every Continent (© 2017 National Geographic Books).
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