In India’s northernmost Union Territory, travel is often by road, which is why the region offers breathtaking road trips. But now, travelling between destinations in Ladakh comes with another dimension—that of savouring its tawny mountains and azure rivers from up above. The UT authorities have extended the in-place helicopter service to locals and tourists. The initial routes will cover destinations such as Leh, Kargil, Padum, Lingshed, Dibling, Neyrak, Diskit, Turtuk, Srinagar and Jammu, and travel time between popular tourist circuits, is set to go down drastically (Leh-Zanskar under an hour as opposite to the previous 10 hours). The Ladakh UT administration has inaugurated the service with two choppers—a five-seater B-3 and a larger Mi-172—with the first passengers having experienced the onboard journey on Tuesday. Passengers can book their tickets online here for these scenic short-haul air transfers across the land of high passes.
China has become the latest country to ease travel-related COVID-19 restrictions and released new quarantine rules for international arrivals. Inbound international travellers will now be required to only quarantine for seven days as opposed to the previous 14-day rule. Further, the at-home quarantine has been reduced to three days from the previously mandated seven.
Mauritius, meanwhile, has lifted restrictions on public gatherings such as those at places of worship, weddings, sports venues and the like. The island country in the Indian Ocean has also started welcoming picnics at its famous golden beaches. Bars and nightclubs have reopened in full capacity for partygoers. Masks will no longer be mandatory in public spaces aside from health centres and public transport.
In a bid to save coral reefs, Vietnam has banned swimming and scuba-diving at its most famous seaside destination—the Nha Trang bay region. The tourist hotspot is highly popular among lovers of sand and surf, not to mention avid scuba divers. Authorities have announced the ban to evaluate the condition and devise an appropriate plan to enforce better marine conservation in the area, which is also a seafood hub. In an update by local media, the living coral reef coverage has dropped from 60 percent in 2020 to less than 50 percent at present in the country. The Asian nation boasts a 3,200-km coastline with crystal clear waters teeming with sea life being the star attraction for exuberant tourists.
A new floating city is under construction in the island nation of Maldives. The new development is located 10 minutes away from the capital city of Malé. Set to accommodate over 20,000 people, the city is mapped out to include picturesque houses, stores and schools. Its design reveals a canal network running between houses within a 2-sq-km area. Developers have also disclosed plans of placing artificial coral banks at the underside of the city to boost the marine ecosystem. The objective behind the upcoming city is a prediction that due to rising water levels, Maldives is at risk of drowning by 2100. Since rising water levels reflect no effect on floating cities, the development is being considered feasible. The new homes in the city will welcome their first residents by 2024.
Bhutan is set to reopen its borders for international travellers for the first time since March 2020. The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) declared that tourists will be allowed to enter the Himalayan kingdom starting September 23, 2022. On the other hand, TBC has raised the Sustainable Development Fee to $200 per tourist per night from the $65 that was charged for three decades. The hike in tax is attributed to help control the carbon footprint of tourists.
Sudrisha Goswami hopes to connect people with engaging stories from spectrums of art, culture, design and communities. She can be spotted sipping a cup of hot chocolate on any given day with a book in her hand and her eyes scanning crowds for different journeys.