Home to me is not a building you live in but a feeling inside of you that instills peace, excitement and fulfilment. It’s the feeling that swallows me up and energises me each time I step outside the airport gate and my feet touch foreign grounds. It’s the feeling I get making me feel alive when the different aromas fill my nose, the magical colours that dance before my eyes and the breathtaking views that constantly find a place inside my heart.
Home to me is when I am traveling and discovering new cultures and places. This is one of the main reasons I started Elle Voyage. For women like me who want to experience life, who long to set their senses alive with the shear thrill of exploring new traditions, cultures and places. For women who have the burning desire to travel but have no desire to discover the world alone.
There are just so many magical destinations in the world just waiting to be discovered, and here is a selection we will be visiting over the next 24 months. It would be great if you could join me…
Known as the kingdom of wonder, Cambodia truly puts you under a spell. A country with a legacy that spans thousands of years, it will thrill you with a sense of awe, surprise you with its sophistication, and fascinate you with its diverse history and rich traditions. Crowded cafe life gives way to swaying palms and technicolor rice paddies, fishing villages and tropical wilderness spill out to meet the sea. At every turn the unbreakable spirit of the Khmer people provides inspiration. This a country where both adventure and unrivalled beauty come together and unite for an incredible life changing experience.
The rich and diverse culture of Bali plays out in all levels of life, from the exquisite flower-petal offerings placed everywhere, to the processions of joyfully garbed locals, to the traditional music and dance performed island-wide. Almost everything in Bali has a spiritual meaning. In the heart of Bali is Ubud, a place where the culture of the island is most accessible, and it shares the island’s most beautiful rice fields and ancient monuments with east and west Bali. What every you are searching for whether you know it or not, you will find it in beautiful breathtaking Bali.
Nestled between the more trodden parts of India and Southeast Asia, you’ll find Sri Lanka’s with it’s history, culture and natural beauty undeniably enticing.
Few places have as many as eight Unesco World Heritage Sites packed into such a small area. Sri Lanka’s 2000-plus years of culture can be discovered so effortlessly. In the morning you could be seeing the sacred home of the world’s oldest living human-planted tree and be awestruck by the sight of hundreds of elephants gathering in the afternoon in a completely different location. Whether discovering your favourite beach, meditating in a 2000-year-old temple or exchanging smiles with a local villager, you will find inside the diverse landscapes of Sri Lanka.
A land of remarkable diverse cultural treasures from ancient traditions and artistic heritage to magnificent landscapes and culinary creations . Wherever you go in the south India you’ll be bumping into the magnificent relics of the splendid civilisations that have inhabited this land over two millennia. The amazing rock-cut shrines carved out by Buddhists, Hindus and Jains. The palaces, tombs, forts and mosques of Muslim dynasties on the Deccan. Sculptures, temples and the magical ruins of the Vijayanagar capital at Hamp will leave you in awe. Further south , cruising the backwaters of Kerala which has over 400 miles of glorious coastline to enjoy whilst relaxing and taking in the beauty of the scenery. The palm-strung strands and inland waterways of the west give way to spice gardens, tea plantations, tropical forests and cool hill-station retreats in the Western Ghats. and across the region, preserved wild forests shelter elephants and tigers to monkeys and sloth bears. South India is an experience not to be missed.
Recently hitting the headlines, topping bucket lists, wooing nature lovers, there seems to be no end to this northern destination. An underpopulated island marooned near the top of the globe, Iceland is, literally, a country in the making. It’s a vast volcanic laboratory where mighty forces shape the earth: geysers gush, mudpots gloop, ice-covered volcanoes rumble and glaciers cut great pathways through the mountains. It’s the power of Icelandic nature to turn the prosaic into the extraordinary. Iceland has a transformative effect on people, you’ll find some of the world’s highest concentrations of dreamers, authors, artists and musicians, all fuelled by their surroundings. Experience bathing in surplus of hot pots of geothermal waters dotted all of the island which are incredibly relaxing and a great way to mix with the locals. Live music is everywhere, as is visual arts, handicrafts and locavore cuisine. Iceland is truly unique individual. In the summer months it is almost surrounded by daylight 24 hours a day.
Vietnam is both exotic and compelling. A country of captivating beauty and proud traditions. Formerly a French colony, it still retains a strong French cultural influence with wide boulevards, magnificent Belle Époque architecture, aromatic fresh baguettes sold on every corner to great coffee and natural juices. It’s a country of contrast. Exquisite temples, pagodas, and tombs dot the landscape. In Saigon and Hanoi you will find cities influenced by both modern and ancient customs. Visit ancient hill tribes, then shop for tailor-made clothes in the boutiques of Hoi, the artisan quarter. Hop on a junk boat in Halong Bay, meander through Hue’s Imperial City, relax on the divine beaches of Nha Trang, and cruise through the rural villages of the Mekong Delta. You can bike through breathtaking green rice paddies and trek the mountainous trails of Sapa. Food-lovers will delight at the aromatic street food and upmarket cafes and you can even learn to make some of the Vietnamese dishes in a cooking class. No matter if you’re new to Vietnam, or it’s your third time, Vietnam it is one destination that will continue to surpass your expectations.
Japan is a land of vast cultural diversity with it’s highly volcanic archipelago, ultra-modern cities, buddhist mountain sanctuaries, hidden hot springs and cultural arts. It will mesmerise you with its culture, age-old traditions and elegant sophistication. Explore Japanese art, food, history and culture in its most iconic cities. In Tokyo, visit unforgettable sites such as the Meiji Shrine and the colourful shopping streets of Harajuku. Meet Geishas, visit the famous Tsukiji Fish Market and partake in a Tea Ceremony. Maybe you’d like to indulge in some sake tasting and sample the exquisite variety of different foods on offer. Ancient townships, majestic temples, art galleries and royal gardens are all part of our fantastic journey through Japanese culture and heritage.
Marrakesh is bursting at the seems with an intense density of life. Red baked-mud medina palaces beneath the snow-capped High Atlas and a powder-pink ring of ramparts around 19 kilometres of bustling souqs, Marrakech is Morocco’s most memorable experience. Founded almost 1000 years ago on the edge of the Sahara, this southern market town grew to become one of the great cities of the Maghreb and a Unesco Heritage site. You’ll find yourself enchanted by the many snake charmers, craving the latest designer henna tattoos or getting a salt scrub in the local hammam. Marrakech is certainly a city of variety and unique moments. Gazing on the iconic Koutoubia as the call to prayer rings out at sunset, wandering the local market buying fragrant mint, and ducking under dripping yarn drying to a shades of reds, purples and golds in the Dyers Souk. Marrakesh has a unique flavour and just 5 minutes away you will be surrounded by orange groves and tranquility with the beaches of Essouira not far away. The magic of Marrakesh will stay with you for a long time.
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