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WINTER 2015/2016

40

Just Go ! 2016 BEST IN TRAVEL

Places to Go Now Fiji Dublin Cuba Friuli Japan Mumbai Auvergne Greenland Costa Verde Australia New Mexico

+

*

Go islandhopping in HAWAII Fall in love (again) with ROME Sleep on an AFRICAN ISLAND

Eat your way through NASHVILLE

EASY GETAWAYS: Baja, Sanibel Island, Quebec and Texas Hill Country GRAB-AND-GO MINI GUIDES: Istanbul, Chicago, Tokyo, Savoy and ReykjavĂ­k


editor’s letter

I WAS 10 YEARS OLD Lonely P lane t ’s gu ide books.

This magazine is created for the way people really travel. We want you to join that street parade,

when I first discovered

I distinctly remember curling up on the foor at a

in this issue we feature Tandy Wilson, celebrated

bookstore, riveted by all the information the book

chef and owner of City House, one of my favorite

held for my frst overseas trip to England. Over 20

restaurants, who shares his top picks for where and

years later, I still rely on Lonely Planet to give me

what to eat (p.34). We also feature easy winter es-

truthful and friendly travel advice, and I couldn’t be

capes to places I have enjoyed visiting or hope to vis-

more thrilled to be the editor of Lonely Planet,

it soon: I have fond childhood memories of Sanibel

launching with this issue.

Island, Florida (p. 56), and Baja California, Mexico

This magazine joins our 11-million-strong website, lonelyplanet.com, as well as our family of guide-

(p. 50), and thanks to this issue I’ve added Quebec (p. 52) to my travel wish list.

books and cofee table books. Our readers are curious

Bavaria is another special place to me. Years

travelers looking for the best, most enriching travel ex-

ago I traveled there as a study abroad student and got

visit that unmarked

periences. We are here to provide inspiration and in-

to visit “Mad” King Ludwig II’s castle, and it was all

restaurant, and have

sider information to help you take the most informed

brought back to me in the tale told by Oliver Smith

that out-of-the-way

and memorable trip. This magazine is created for the

(p. 82). But a real test of my personal travel limits was

way people really travel. We want you to join that

hiking through southern Utah during a road trip

street parade, visit that unmarked restaurant, and have

along Scenic Byway 12 (p. 90), a part of the country

that out-of-the-way beach all to yourself.

I had never visited (with a hiking gene I never knew

beach all to yourself.

Traveling for me has always been a way not

I had!). The vistas were truly unforgettable and re-

only to experience other places and people, but also

minded me how a fresh perspective is sometimes the

to fnd a little more of myself along the way. We hope

most valuable memento you can bring home from a

that you will do the same, whether you’re exploring

new destination.

a faraway destination like Vietnam (p. 72) or staying closer to your own backyard. Nashville – Lonely Planet’s backyard – is a top city on our 2016 Best in Travel list (p. 59), and

I’m excited to take you around the world through our eyes, and hope we inspire you to, in the words of Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler, “Just go.” Happy travels,

Photo: Kate Davis

Lauren @laurenrfnney

Winter 2015 Lonely Planet

3


Winter 2015 Volume 1 / No. 1

FEATURES page 59 Your 2016 Travel List

Lonely Planet’s annual guide to the best countries, regions, cities and more.

page 72 Views from Vietnam

From Hoi An to Hanoi, Vietnam is a country brimming with diversity, from its landscapes to its food to its people.

page 82 The Mad King of Bavaria

Germany’s most iconic castle serves as the stage for one of its most extraordinary stories: the rise and fall of legendary “Mad” King Ludwig II.

page 90 Utah, Uncovered

Photo: Jody Horton

The Beehive State’s national parks harbor some of the most impressive landscapes on Earth.

City House pizza

Winter 2015 Lonely Planet Magazine

4


Photos: clockwise from top left: Dominique Vorillon; Brown Cannon III; Matt Munro. All prices correct at press time.

Prices for hotel rooms are for double, en suite rooms in low season, unless otherwise stated. Flight prices are for the least expensive round-trip ticket.

globetrotter p 15 5 Spots A global list of the hot spots you need to know about now. 10 New Ways A fresh take on experiencing Rome. Arrivals Travel news for the season. Pack & Play Essential gear to take along on your sun or snow break.

clockwise from top left: Cuba; Fiji, hammock on Maui

Inside Knowledge Professional tips to help you get the most out of your vacation videos. What to Eat Nashville chef Tandy Wilson takes us through the food scene in his hometown.

‘All you’ve got

postcards p 39

great escape p 99

Chicago Make your

Lonely Planet readers share their travel photos.

An itinerary for islandhopping through Hawaii.

way through the best museums.

easy trips p 47

mini guides p 113

Ideas for super-easy, take-them-now trips to New York City, Baja California and more.

Dublin Discover the hidden

corners of Ireland’s capital. Tokyo Stay within budget in one of the world’s most expensive cities. Savoy Ski and much more in France’s winter wonderland.

Reykjavík Explore a range of

activities near Iceland’s capital. Istanbul History is center

stage in the city where East meets West.

to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over. So go!’ Tony Wheeler


globetrotter

Photo by Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos

A WORLD OF TRAVEL NEWS AND DISCOVERIES

5 SPOTS TO TALK ABOUT RIGHT NOW 10 NEW WAYS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH ROME AMAZING PLACES TO STAY THAT DO GOOD ARRIVALS TRAVEL NEWS

GEAR FOR SUN & SKI

INSIDE KNOWLEDGE HOW TO TAKE GREAT TRAVEL VIDEOS FOOD WHAT TO EAT . . . IN NASHVILLE

Honduras


globetrotter

Amazing Places to Stay

MAQAI ECO SURF RESORT ÿ Qa m e a I s l a n d, F i j i GOING GREEN: This family-friendly glamping resort (with accommodations in well-appointed eco-style safari tents) takes eco-tourism seriously. Ninety percent of the resort is solar powered, and there’s an on-site vegetable garden where you can help pick the day’s produce. Food waste is composted for the garden or taken back to the village to feed the pigs, rainwater is stored for washing, and linens are air-dried. The resort generates income for the village and supports all local businesses, from the fshermen to jewelry artists to furniture makers. AND: The resort is surrounded by world-class and rela-

tively undiscovered surf breaks. There’s a local surf guide for all skill levels (starting at $760 for a week of lodging, food and lessons). Doubles from $185; maqai.com

22

Lonely Planet Winter 2015

Photo: Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos

THAT DO GOOD


PROXIMITY HOTEL ÿ G re e n sb o r o , No r th C a ro l i n a GOING GREEN: There are over 70 sustainability practices in place at the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certifed Proximity Hotel, including efcient building materials with 87 percent of construction waste recycled, a bistro bar made of salvaged storm wood, geothermal energy for the restaurant’s refrigeration equipment, and an elevator that feeds its energy back into the grid. AND: Print Works Bistro, a farm-to-table restaurant with-

in the hotel, ofers traditional and modern versions of classic European bistro dishes, such as mussels, flet and pan-seared duck. The restaurant also ofers cooking classes that include beverages, a cooking demonstration and a three-course meal with wine. $219–$289; proximityhotel.com MUMBO ISLAND ÿ L ak e Mal aw i N at io n al Park GOING GREEN: Into the whole Robinson Crusoe thing? Then this is the place for you. In the middle of Lake Malawi in southeast Africa, Mumbo Island aims to make as little impact as possible, preserving the land and its elements. There is no electricity, and “eco-loos” (dry composter toilets) are used to compost gardens on the mainland after being buried for a year. Water is pumped via solar power and the food is locally sourced.

MU MB O

AND: This island – just over half a mile in diameter – is

NATIO NA L

defnitely the place to chill out if you want an authentic African experience: the entire place is of-grid and uninterrupted. The park ofers some of the world’s best freshwater snorkeling and scuba-diving. From $230; mumboisland.com

PA RK ,

ISL AND IS PA RT O F L AK E MAL AWI

TH E WO R LD ’S FI R ST FR E SH WATE R MAR INE R ESERV E AND A U NESCO

HOTEL TERRA JACKSON HOLE ÿ Teton Village, Wyoming GOING GREEN: This LEED Silver certifed property uses alternative clean energy sources as well as other energyefcient and recycled materials throughout the hotel. Organic mattresses, aluminum water bottles, 80 percent recycled steel, 100 percent recycled roof shingles, chemical-free cleaning supplies and Energy Star-approved windows will please even the most eco-conscious traveler.

WO R L D H ER ITAGE SITE .

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Lonely Planet Winter 2015

AND: The hotel has ski-in access from the Jackson Hole

Mountain Resort. It’s a short walk to the area’s major ski lifts, and Grand Teton National Park is less than a mile away. The hotel’s Chill Spa ofers private treatment rooms, organic products and an outdoor rooftop hot tub. From $229; hotelterra jacksonhole.com

Architecture by Anne Field; photos clockwise from left: courtesy of Mumbo Island; courtesy of Proximity Hotel; courtesy of Hotel Terra

globetrotter


globetrotter

Arrivals

TRAVEL NEWS Need to Know:

TRAVELING TO CUBA American interest in Cuba is skyrocketing as the U.S. government’s travel restrictions to the island country continue to loosen. Here’s what you need to know if you want to travel to Cuba:

Choose a category. There are a dozen travel categories under which you can apply to go to Cuba – humanitarian eforts, family visits and religious activities, for example. The easiest and most popular way is to take a preplanned “peopleto-people” tour, an organized trip featuring daily educational and cultural activities, such as cigar rolling and musical performances.

Have a valid passport. Americans need a passport that will not expire until at least six months after the trip has been completed. You’ll need a visa to enter the country.

Get covered. Cuba requires all travelers to have non-U.S. medical insurance. You can buy a temporary policy prior to passing through the airport’s customs area.

Take cash. Before you travel, verify whether your credit cards will be accepted. If the exchange rate is good, consider taking euros or Canadian dollars to exchange for Cuban convertible pesos (CUCs).

Limit yourself. Americans are allowed to bring back up to $400 worth of goods for personal use (art, souvenirs), but no more than $100 of that can be for alcohol or tobacco products.

GLOBAL CALENDAR

The best places to be this season

Witness the art and athleticism

Do your best Captain Jack during the

Take a spin at the

Smash marzipan-filled

Ring in the new year

Whirling Dervishes

chocolate cauldrons,

with the beautiful

of sumo wrestlers

Pirate Festival at

Festival in Konya,

then grab and

people of Brazil

during the Grand

George Town harbor

Turkey, December

gobble up the sweet

during Copacabana

Sumo Tournament

on Grand Cayman

10–17.

pieces at L’Escalade

beach’s Reveillon

in Fukuoka, Japan,

Island, November

in Geneva,

on December 31.

starting November 1.

12–22.

Switzerland, December 11–13.

26

Lonely Planet Winter 2015

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

*Check lonelyplanet.com/news, travel.state.gov and treasury.gov for updates on best travel practices.


Flight Plan ISLANDS MADE EASY Now it will be Transportation News

easier to dig

GOING UP Toronto’s new high-speed airport train, Union Pearson

your toes into

Express (aka UP), is now up and running for those

Caribbean sand:

looking for direct service between Toronto Pearson

United Airlines is

International Airport and Union Station downtown. Trains leave every 15 minutes from each location and the

ofering two

journey takes just 25 minutes (including two stops along

direct flights

the way), allowing travelers to avoid the hassle of

Celebration

One for Ol’ Blue Eyes

from Chicago

Toronto’s unpredictable trafc. $21; upexpress.com

Gather up your personal Rat Pack and

O’Hare to

head to Fontainebleau Miami Beach. To

Providenciales,

celebrate the centennial of Frank Sinatra’s

Turks and Caicos Islands, for the

Sinatra-themed fun. The legendary singer and actor, who performed

high season,

regularly at the Fontainebleau’s La Ronde

How to Stay

December

night-club, vacationed at the hotel and

Sleep With Your Tribe

19–April 30. The

Zoku, self-described as

even filmed movies on the property, will be honored through a photo exhibit, a

“INTERNATIONAL

flights will depart

nightly toast and more, culminating in a

LIVING FOR THE

Saturdays at

concert on Ol’ Blue Eyes’s birthday,

GLOBAL NOMAD,”

10:40 a.m. from

aims to incorporate

Chicago and at

mobile ofce needs into

December 12. fontainebleau.com

1:49 p.m. from

a hotel room, creating a

Providenciales.

home/ofce hybrid Illustrations by Patrick Hruby; photo: Ewout Huibers

birth, the resort is featuring 100 days of

where guests can work, relax and socialize with like-minded travelers. The first hotel is scheduled to open this fall in Amsterdam, and

At Your Service Did You Know? Airbnb

will

send

out

a

professional

photographer to shoot your listing free of

there are plans to

charge. Get that living room camera-ready

expand internationally.

with a few eye-catching throw pillows.

Weesperstraat 105,

Shibori pillow ($65); furbishstudio.com

Amsterdam; livezoku.com

Winter 2015 Lonely Planet

27


globetrotter THERE’S MORE TO THIS BOOMING SOUTHERN

what to eat in nashville

CITY’S FOOD SCENE THAN BISCUITS AND BARBECUE. Three-time James Beard Awards

finalist TANDY WILSON, CHEF AND OWNER AT

CITY HOUSE RESTAURANT, TAKES US ON A CULINARY TOUR OF HIS HOMETOWN. BY LAUREN FINNEY / PHOTOGRAPHS BY JODY HORTON

Seemingly overnight, Nashville became one of America’s hottest dining destinations. Tandy Wilson’s City House restaurant has helped put Nashville on the culinary map. The restaurant has been turning out some of the best food in the South for eight years, winning a steady stream of accolades along the way, including three James Beard Awards nominations for chef and owner Wilson. The food – Italian cuisine inspired by the American South – is obviously taken seriously at City House, but with an ease and insouciance that is characteristic to Nashville as a whole.

“WE SPEND A LOT OF TIME FINDING GREAT PRODUCTS, WITH SIMPLE PREPARATIONS,” SAYS WILSON, A RARE NATIVE NASHVILLIAN WHO HAS HIS ROOTS FIRMLY PLANTED IN TENNESSEE SOIL. “IT’S SIMPLE FOOD, FROM THE SOUL, FROM THE HEART – FOR THE FAMILY.” Local ingredients play a starring role in Wilson’s cooking, and he takes care when working with his product, especially City House pizzas, which have a cult following. Creating the pizzas – the pork belly is legendary, though Wilson favors his seasonal versions – is a three-day process. “Lots of proofing gives our dough lots of flavor,” he says. The grits are also among his menu favorites. “Our grits are milled in-house. We

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Lonely Planet Winter 2015

source our corn from Windy Acres Farm (windyacrestn.com) in Orlinda, Tennessee, whose grain is non-GMO and organic.” This attention to detail is especially prevalent on City House’s Sunday menu, which changes every week according to what’s fresh and seasonal, and could include produce from the downtown Nashville Farmers’ Market (nashvillefarmersmarket.org), nashvillefarmersmarket.org or local community supported agriculture groups. In warmer months, The Peach Truck’s (thepeachtruck.com) Georgia peaches make appearances. Wilson also relies on Turnbull Creek Farm (turnbullcreekfarm.com) in Bon Aqua, where he buys produce from owner Tally May year-round. “The stuf through the winter is amazing, because she’s the only one growing anything,” Wilson says. “We have the type of relationship where she grows what we want and we cook what she grows.” Another farm favorite is Smiley Hollow Farm (smileyhollow.com) in Ridgetop, for “beautiful produce indigenous to Middle Tennessee.” Wilson advises going early to either farm, right when the farmers arrive, to get the best of what they are ofering that day. When he’s hungry for something besides City House fare, Wilson often heads a few blocks from his restaurant’s historic Germantown neighborhood to hit up Big Al’s Deli (bigbigalsdeli.com). He’s especially fond of the skillet beans, which he proclaims to be “stupid awesome,” and he also recommends the “excellent” burger and catfish. “It’s a great local establishment that we [at City House] love to support. Big Al is there all the time, and he’s awesome,” says Wilson. If he has a hankering for pulled pork, it’s Martin’s BBQ Joint (martinsbbqjoint.com) all the way for Wilson. After hours, he frequents The Treehouse (treehousenashville.com), where he took over the menu

TANDY’S TOP EATS Sandwich Joint

Big Al’s Deli 1828 4th Ave. N. 615-242-8118

For ’Cue

Martin’s BBQ Joint 3108 Belmont Blvd. 615-200-1181

Late Night

The Treehouse 1011 Clearview Ave. 615-454-4201

Best Brunch

Margot Café 1017 Woodland St. 615-227-4668

Fast Mexican

Mas Tacos Por Favor 732 McFerrin Ave. 615-543-6271

Vegetarian Eats

So Gong Dong Tofu House 1310 Antioch Pike # A 615-781-2022

Ethnic Bites

VN Pho + Deli 5906 Charlotte Pike 615-356-5995

Fine Dining

Prima 700 12th Ave. S. 615-873-4232


Clockwise from top left: Tandy Wilson; octopus in poaching liquid; City House restaurant; pizza just out of the oven


globetrotter

Pack & Play All yo u r ne ed s fo r a n ac ti v i ty- fi l l ed o u t i n g , wh et h er sn ow o r s u n st ri kes yo ur fa n cy PHOTOGRAPHY BY CARIN KRASNER PRODUCED/STYLED BY KIM WONG

has hand warmers built into pockets

touch screenfriendly finger pads

Snow remote-controlled and rechargeable

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Lonely Planet Winter 2015

Clockwise, from top right: snowboard ($379.95), burton.com; down ($279), patagonia .com; goggles ($239.95), burton.com; Thermacell insoles ($129.95) llbean .com; rubber boots ($120), swims.com; Camp gloves ($90), canada-goose.com; compact binoculars ($59.95), llbean.com; beanie ($24.95), tetongravity.com.


easy trips

Photo: Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos

Q UICK E SC APES FOR T HE H OLIDAY SEASON AND BEYOND

Dreaming of a winter getaway? Here are 7 ideas for no-hassle breaks you can take right now. INCLUDING NEW YORK CITY BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA AND MORE


easy trips

NEW YORK CITY

Holiday Heaven

stay: The fireplaces at the

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS MAGICAL IN NEW YORK CITY. It’s a festive bonanza this time of year, and once you embrace the spectacle of it all, you’ll surely be in the holiday spirit. Venture outside midtown Manhattan for some lesser-known seasonal highlights.

Marlton Hotel (from $195; marltonhotel.com) and Jade Hotel (from $234; thejadenyc.com), both in Greenwich Village, and the Nylo Hotel (from $170; nylohotels.com), on the Upper West Side, will keep you toasty on a cold

Visit Dyker Heights in Brooklyn for the neighborhood’s holiday lights display.

winter night.

do Drinking hot chocolate

Don’t miss

is a serious culinary sport in New York.

iconic seeing the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, ice skating at Bryant Park, Head to the New York Botanical Garden (nybt .org/hts ) in the Bronx to see the holiday train show.

and viewing the elaborate window dressings.

It comes unsweetened, bitter and dark at minichain La Colombe (lacolombe.com) and thick with Italian charm and cream in Lavazza’s cioccolata con panna at Italian food mecca Eataly (eataly.com). If spice if your thing, head to Jacques Torres Chocolate (mrchocolate .com) in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. Back in Manhattan, City Bakery (thecitybakery .com), famous for its hot chocolate month

Skip the German food but have a cocktail at Rolf’s (rolfsnyc.com),

(February) serves a hot

the jovial Gramercy Park spot where every surface is festooned with

chocolate that’s so

holiday paraphernalia.

decadent and dreamy –

At Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, see the world’s largest menorah

and that’s before they

(chabadparkslope.com). Stop to marvel at the giant gingerbread village at the New York Science Hall’s GingerBread Lane (nysci.org). Finish it all of with a stroll through Grand Central Terminal’s (grandcentralterminal.com/hf2015) holiday market.

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Lonely Planet Winter 2015

add the massive marshmallow to the top. For more on visiting New York City, see nycgo.com.

Illustration by Wendy MacNaughton; bottom photo: Talisman Brolin

activities like

St. Ignatius Loyola (smssconcerts.org ) on the Upper East Side offers a Christmas carol concert series that rivals anything at Carnegie Hall.


This is the most hotly contested topic at Lonely Planet. As self-confessed travel geeks, our staf collectively racks up hundreds of thousands of miles each year, exploring almost every destination on the planet in the process. Amid fierce debate, our panel of travel experts whittles down the list to 10 countries, 10 regions, 10 cities and 10 best value destinations. Each is chosen for its topicality, unique experiences and “wow” factor. We don’t just report on the trends, we set them – helping you get there before the crowds do. Turn the page to find out what made the cut for 2016.

Clouds reflecting in the Okavango River, Botswana, Africa Photo by Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos


the dek and hed are being designed

A MODERN CAPITAL OF ASIAN CULTURE, A TROPICAL ECOTOURISM DESTINATION, AN UNEXPECTED BALTIC TREASURE AND SEVEN MORE MUST-VISIT NATIONS

Top 10 Countries

1 BOTSWANA 2 JAPAN 3 UNITED STATES 4 PALAU 5 LATVIA 6 AUSTRALIA 7 POLAND 8 URUGUAY 9 GREENLAND 10 FIJI

Photo by Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos

na


2 JAPAN

BOTSWANA Africa’s unsung success

New Horizons in the land of the rising sun

In 2016 Botswana will celebrate its 50th year of independence. What’s there to shout about? Well, for starters, the country has Africa’s longest continuous multiparty democracy, a progressive social outlook, a healthy and enlightened tourism industry, and a fast-growing economy since gaining independence from Britain in 1966. That’s not all. Botswana is a unique destination: an unusual combination of desert and delta that draws an immense concentration of wildlife. Seventeen

percent of the country is dedicated to national parks, many of them spreading into the vast Transfrontier parks of Kavango-Zambezi and Kgalagadi. This dedication to conserving some of the world’s last remaining wildernesses was recognized in 2014 when the jewel in Botswana’s conservation crown, the Okavango Delta, became UNESCO’s 1,000th World Heritage Site. Go to Vumbura Plains Camp or Jao Camp for the trip of a lifetime, or go on a budget to community projects like Tsabong Camel Park and Moremi Gorge. Be a wildlife enthusiast and track elephants in the mini-Serengeti of Savuti or meerkats on the Makgadikgadi Pans. Whatever you do and whenever you go, you won’t regret it. botswanatourism.co.bw

3 UNITED STATES

America’s best idea

Japan ranks number one for that quintessential notin-Kansas-anymore travel experience. Its cities are expertly crafted odes to futurism, where the trains whirr by in the blink of an eye and the towers of metal and glass are bathed in neon light. The countryside also feels otherworldly, with all-continents-in-one landscapes that blend alpine peaks with shimmering shores. Everywhere in between are prim wooden temples, the constant reminder of a well of deep-seated traditions. Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics, and Olympic fever is already apparent in the capital as the city executes an elaborate feat of urban planning that will create a brand-new shopping district, an entirely new Olympic village, and move the much-venerated Tsukiji fsh market (which sees over $20 million in seafood sales each day) to a sparkling new facility in late 2016. With the government’s continued eforts to devalue the Japanese yen, there’s no better time to experience the country that pays such vivid tribute to manic modernity and hallowed history. jnto.go.jp/eng

4 PALAU

From Yosemite’s mighty granite clifs and fairy-tale waterfalls and Zion’s claustrophobic slot canyons to the steamy swamps of the Everglades, America’s national parks boast some of the most spectacular and surreal landscapes on the planet. In 2016, the National Park Service turns 100 years old, and the federal agency has been working steadily to ensure the 59 parks are at their best for the centennial. It’s serious work that has the most wondrous end: discovery of the national parks themselves. There are 84.4 million acres to choose from. discoveramerica.com

The Pacifc’s greenest secret

Collected behind a 68-mile barrier reef, more than 200 largely unspoiled limestone and volcanic islands – a mere eight are inhabited – are blanketed in tropical and mangrove forest and surrounded by waters teeming with marine life. Palau is leading conservation eforts in the region. Such progressive thinking makes these islands a haven for diving and snorkeling as well as kayaking, sailing and wildlife watching. The secret is out in East Asia already, which means Palau is looking to limit the number of tourists it can host at a time. visit-palau.com

5 LATVIA

Shining on its silver anniversary

Shutterstock / Blue Orange Studio

a

1

A fleet of (new) New Nordic chefs are catapulting local flavors to artisanal heights.

Celebrating 25 years of freedom from its Soviet fetters, little Latvia is poised to take center stage. The title of “most improved’” is rightfully deserved for casting aside the shadow of communism and resuscitating centuries-old traditions that have long made this Baltic treasure shine. Hundreds LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE

The pirts – a hot birch sauna – will encourage you to eschew modesty while a sauna master lightly beats branches across your body.

RANDOM FACT

of crumbling castles and manor houses hide in the nation’s dense pine forests, and today many of these estates have been lavishly transformed into inns and museums. Meanwhile, a feet of (new) New Nordic chefs are catapulting the local food scene to artisanal heights. latvia.travel/en

It’s believed that the Christmas tree originated here in 1510.

BIZARRE SIGHT

Gauja National Park has eccentric relics from the Soviet era, such as the 3,937-foot cement bobsled track for the Soviet Olympic team.

_ _ _1 Botswana_ _ _2 Japan_ _ _3 United States_ _ _4 Palau_ _ _5 Latvia_ _ _6 Australia_ _ _7 Poland_ _ _8 Uruguay_ _ _9 Greenland_ _ _10 Fiji_ _ _


E H T ORIE L G F O ET N I V Photo: Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos


S E

M A N

From the island-studded seas of the north to the meandering waterways of the south, Vietnam is a country defned by the diversity of its land and the resilience and generosity of its people. by Oliver Smith

Photo by Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos


G N O L A H Y A B Once upon a time, a friendly dragon lived in the heavens above HALONG BAY. With invaders from the seas threatening Vietnam, the gods asked the dragon to create a natural barrier to protect its people. The dragon kindly obliged, performing a spectacular crash landing along the coast – digging up chunks of rock with its flailing tail and spitting out pearls – before grinding to a halt. This scene of devastation is now known as Halong Bay. Halong translates as “where the dragon descends into the sea.” Less exciting explanations of this landscape involve eons of erosion by wind and waves, but nobody disputes the splendor of the end result. Rising from the shallows of the Gulf of Tonkin are thousands of limestone islands – towering monoliths lined up like dominoes, some teetering at worrying angles. “In Vietnamese culture, dragons are the protectors of people,” explains Vo Tan, a guide who has been bringing people to Halong Bay for more than two decades. “I once saw a picture of Halong Bay taken from above, and it even looked a bit like a dragon.” Sailing into Halong Bay, it’s easy to understand the

/ Boats in Halong Bay, Quang Ninh, Vietnam

hallucinatory efect these strange shapes can have. The islands’ names testify to the overactive imaginations of sailors who’ve spent too long at sea: Fighting Cock Island, Finger Island, Virgin Grotto (which is said to contain a rock the shape of a beautiful woman). Having largely resisted human settlement, the islands have become home to other creatures. From above, sea eagles swoop down to pluck fish from the waters, carrying their prey, still flapping, high into the air, and squawking congratulations to each other from their nests. Down below, countless jellyfish drift about the hollows that run beneath the clifs. A local legend tells of another, altogether more sinister creature lurking in the waters of Halong Bay. A gigantic sea snake and close cousin of the Loch Ness Monster, the Tarasque was seen on three occasions by 19th-century French sailors, with sightings sporadically reported in Vietnam’s tabloids since then. I ask Tan who would win in a battle between the Tarasque and Halong Bay’s famous dragon. “Of course the dragon would win,” he says, grinning. “In Vietnamese stories, the good guys are never allowed to lose.”

Photo: Gareth Jones

WHERE THE DRAGON MEETS THE SEA


Rising from the shallows of the Gulf of Tonkin are thousands of limestone islands – towering monoliths lined up like dominoes, some teetering at worrying angles.


CRUISE CANYON COUNTRY Towering red rock spires, deep canyons, majestic monoliths: Utah harbors some of the most extraordinary landforms on Earth. Experience the best of the West on a road trip through three national parks in Southern Utah. by Rory Goulding

Winter 2015W.Lonely Magazine Photos 90 Photo: Brown CannonPlanet III / Intersection


Winter 2015 Lonely Planet Magazine

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ZION NATIONAL PARK

EVEN IF YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES, Zion National Park overawes with the names of its mountains and valleys: the Court of the Patriarchs, Tabernacle Dome, the Organ, the Pulpit and the Great White Throne. Mount Moroni bears the name of the angel who Mormons believe appeared to the founder of their church in the 1820s, and the area’s native religions also get a look-in with the Temple of Sinawava, named for the Paiute Indians’ coyote god, known as a trickster by Native Americans. One test of faith that many visitors are willing to submit themselves to at Zion, Utah’s most visited park, is the trail to the top of Angels Landing. This is one of the world’s most famous hikes. A rocky spine just a few feet wide in some parts with a 1,300-foot drop on either side, the trail climbs to the summit of a tower of red rock. Angels Landing stands at the center of the deep and forested Zion Canyon, embraced

Photo: Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos

by a sweeping curve of the Virgin River, and in the absence of angelic onward transportation, the only way back is the same knifeedge path. It isn’t necessary, however, to leave the valley floor to sense why Mormon pioneers and other explorers were moved to such grandiloquence in the names they scattered around the park. Zion is the midway point on a descent through geological time known as the Grand Staircase. Bryce Canyon, 40 miles to the northeast, is the top step: its rocks are less than 60 million years young. The Grand Canyon, 60 miles to the south and into Arizona, cuts into the Vishnu Schist at its base, laid down 2 billion years ago. Many corners of Zion are rightly out of human reach, though bighorn sheep and mountain lions might tread there. Endangered California condors are sometimes seen soaring above the peaks. Only they know Zion’s true extent.

GETTING THERE Zion National Park is located on State Route 9 in the attractive town of Springdale, Utah (the southern entrance to the park). A seven-day pass for one vehicle and all occupants is $30 (nps.gov/zion). Parking areas usually fll up by 10 a.m.; to avoid parking hassles, park in Springdale and ride the free shuttle to the park’s pedestrian entrance. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles from April through October 25; a free shuttle bus travels the route through October 25 and on November weekends. You can drive yourself along Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, Kolob Canyons Road and Kolob Terrace Road. There are three campgrounds in the park (one free, others from $16).


ANGELS LANDING STANDS AT THE CENTER OF THE DEEP AND FORESTED ZION CANYON, EMBRACED BY A SWEEPING CURVE OF THE VIRGIN RIVER.

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Take a detour along SCENIC

BYWAY 12

Many travelers in southern Utah make it as far as Bryce Canyon, perhaps taking a drive or a shuttle ride through the national park. But there’s much more to see and do in this area. Starting at Bryce Canyon, travel east on Scenic Byway 12 (aka state Route 12), a 124-mile route between Bryce and Capitol Reef National Parks, and explore some of our favorite stops along the way: 1. Willis Creek Canyon: It’s a good idea to take a guide to this walkable slot canyon hike off an unmarked path at the Grand Staircase -Escalante National Monument. Bryce Valley Tours offers personalized excursions (from $75 per person; brycevalleytours .com).

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2. Wide Hollow Reservoir: If you find you need to cool off, pull off to Wide Hollow Reservoir, a large, blissfully cool body of water. It will be significantly less populated here than at the other side of the reservoir.

3. Kiva Koffeehouse: Kiva Koffeehouse, in Escalante at mile marker 73.86, is popular as much for its views as for its coffee. Rooms can be rented at the Kiva Kottage down the lane (rooms from $190; kivakofeehouse.com).

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5. Hell’s Backbone Grill: Stop at Hell’s Backbone Grill for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The farm-to-fork restaurant serves produce from its own garden, and the meat is local (dinner entrees from $18; hellsbackbonegrill.com).

Illustration by Patrick Hruby

4. Calf Creek Falls: The family friendly hike to the chilly waters of 126-foothigh Lower Calf Creek Falls is 5½ miles round-trip. The hike to Upper Calf Creek Falls is shorter but more arduous (utah.com/hike).


great escape HAWAIIAN ISLANDS

Take an island-hopping journey through Hawaii, sampling eclectic cuisine and experiencing nature’s diversity at its most divine, from fiery volcanoes to hidden rainforest waterfalls to spectacular sunsets. BY RORY GOULDING PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATT MUNRO


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food & surfing on

Settle into Hawaiian time among wave riders and a feast of dishes from around the Pacific Rim

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The surfers start early at Waikiki Beach. As first light erupts behind the old, spent volcanic cone of Diamond Head, a few hopefuls paddle out on their boards a half-mile to reach the break. Conditions are gentle today; the surf here rarely matches the roller-coaster waves of Oahu’s fabled North Shore. But Waikiki Beach in Honolulu is as close to a spiritual home as can be for this one-time sport of Hawaiian kings, and the islands’ most far-reaching gift to the world. Waikiki’s stirring to life is a sight to reward jet-lagged new arrivals to Oahu, the island that is home to two-thirds of Hawaii’s 1.4 million people. From Honolulu, you have to cross almost 2,400 miles of open ocean to reach the closest population center of any great size (San Francisco), making the Hawaiian capital by this measure the most remote city in the world. And yet for centuries people have come here from all corners of the Pacific and beyond. First – and most impressively, given they were heading into the unknown in wooden voyaging canoes – were the Polynesians. But all around Oahu and on the “neighbor islands,” later arrivals contributed to a mix unlike any other in the 50 states. Sometimes it shows in the architecture: Honolulu bus stops have roofs like miniature Japanese Shinto shrines, and there is a copy of Buddhist temple Byodo-in across the mountains.

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ESSENTIALS Step off the quieter half of Waikiki Beach and into the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. Rooms are decorated with prints of reef life, and the best have 180-degree ocean views; the hotel has two restaurants (from $207; outrigger reef-onthebeach.com). The Pig and the Lady is open for lunch and dinner, except Sundays and Monday evenings (main courses from $13; thepigandthe lady.com).

It’s even easier to experience this isolated-cosmopolitan culture in the food. From Asia come such “only in Hawaii” dishes as saimin, a local take on ramen noodles, and the humble Spam musubi, the canned meat transformed with a teriyaki glaze and served atop sushi rice. Then there is the malasada, a holefree doughnut of Portuguese origin that often conceals tropical fillings such as coconut or pineapple. Leonard’s Bakery (leonardshawaii.com), inland from Waikiki, has been serving these since 1952. Many felt by the 1980s that the local food scene was not making the most of its potential. In 1991, a group of top chefs got together to launch a manifesto they called Hawaii Regional Cuisine, aiming to create a fine-dining counterpart to the everyday Hawaiian “plate lunch.” And while Hawaii is not alone in its recent enthusiasm for using more locally sourced ingredients, it was a particularly stark anomaly that these islands imported the vast bulk of their food when they have such agricultural promise. Before the first Westerners and their fleets came here at the end of the 18th century, the taro plant was Hawaii’s

staple crop. “It was considered to be the elder brother to humans in the traditional genealogy,” says Liko Hoe, a Hawaiian studies lecturer who also runs a 110-year-old poi business. Poi is the lilacgray, mildly sweet-sour paste made from taro root that is a mainstay of the luau, the celebratory Hawaiian feast. Hoe serves poi and other Hawaiian favorites at the wooden roadside counter of the Waiahole Poi Factory (waiaholepoifactory.com), in a stretch of rural Oahu. Back in Honolulu, on Chinatown’s main street, The Pig and the Lady has made the conversion from pop-up eatery to exposed-brick-andmortar restaurant. Its head chef and owner, Andrew Le, once worked at one of the flagships of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Honolulu’s Chef Mavro. Hawaiian beef brisket appears in Le’s reinterpretations of Vietnamese classics such as pho noodles and the banh mi sandwich, and Oahu taro and heirloom tomatoes are among his other favorite ingredients. “You can grow pretty much any-thing in these islands,” he says. “If you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re doing it wrong.”


great escape “ It’s even easier to experience this isolatedcosmopolitan culture in the food. ”

Clockwise, from top left: Waikiki Beach; at the Waiahole Poi Factory (clockwise from back), laulau pork, rice, lomi lomi (salmon and tomatoes) and kalua pork; surfers at Waikiki Beach, with volcanic crater Diamond Head in the background; “pho-sta,” a pasta dish with pho-braised beef, and a tropical cocktail, at The Pig and the Lady


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Lonely Planet magazine (US) Winter 2015 Sample  

Designed exclusively with North American readers in mind, Lonely Planet offers fresh travel ideas, practical tips and advice, essential info...

Lonely Planet magazine (US) Winter 2015 Sample  

Designed exclusively with North American readers in mind, Lonely Planet offers fresh travel ideas, practical tips and advice, essential info...