Make the most of the lead-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar and behold a stunning city’s marvellous antecedents. One great way to do that is a tour to the desert rose-inspired National Museum of Qatar, the latest in Doha’s dizzying lineup of museums. Or set off for a drive to the Al Jumail ruins to witness the country’s pearling and fishing history and return for a tour of the endlessly fascinating Falcon souq (book via the Viavii app). The artistically inclined must check Qatar Museums’ calendar of activities at qm.org.qa/en/experience/families-and-children.
Skip the usual heritage tours to Kota Kinabalu and snorkeling in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park Sabah, for a soak into traditional Sabahan culture in Kiulu Valley. The Kiulu Farmstay is a successful ecotourism project taking travellers through the local riparian way of life, alongside culinary experiences, camping/stargazing, bicycle tours, treks and jungle treks. Bookings can be made on the website (kiulufarmstay.com) or via WhatsApp (019-326-3800). For a curated itinerary and more experiences around Sabah, check exotravel.com.
The coastal settlement grabbed eyeballs last year for the stunningly restored forest mansion of Halala Kanda, whose historically prestigious guest list you, too, can join (halalakanda.com). However, if you’re focussed more on the surfing, the seaside teems with beachfront villas, bungalows and rustic cottages. The ISA-approved Ama Surf School provides surfing lessons for all ages (+94-771599973), and to round off the itinerary, go for a culinary experience for a brush with local cooking in Unawatuna and a jewellery-making workshop in Galle (book via Airbnb).
For those who can’t fly abroad yet for whatever reason—figure out a week off worldly distractions for this hilly Tamil Nadu town known for its jaggery market, idyllic farming villages and local cuisine. The Papyrus Itineraries curates handloom village walks, monsoon walks, tailored nature tours, wildlife explorations in Topslip, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve and around the foothills of the Anamalais (email@example.com; 09123555031). The Pollachi-Valparai stretch promises a scenic day drive along hairpin bends with views of tea plantation.
Read the full feature in the print edition of National Geographic Traveller India January-February 2022.
Prannay Pathak dreams about living out of a suitcase and retiring to the island of Hamneskär to watch films in solitary confinement. He is Assistant Editor (Digital) at National Geographic Traveller India.