[Wanderlust Tips August 2019] Autumn – the season of melodious love songs intertwined with hazy afternoon sunshine. Not only is autumn adorned with carpets of golden yellow and burnt orange leaves but autumnal trips also allow travellers to be transported to remote lands, making for countless unforgettable experiences. Travelling in autumn is just a sweet dream. Close your eyes and inhale deeply to feel the spirit of the land and sky. Through discovering 10 “stunningly unparalleled destinations”, you will see how beautifully exquisite autumnal life truly is.
APPRECIATE THE LIVELY ATMOSPHERE OF THE MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL IN BEIJING
Travelling to Beijing in autumn, you will not only get lost in the magnificently colourful scenery of the vibrant landscape but you can also reminisce over childhood memories at MidAutumn Festival. The traditional Mid-Autumn Festival often falls in September promoting a wonderful cultural atmosphere. Meander along the buzzing streets clad with colourful lanterns and take a moment to take it all in. If you are looking for a more peaceful way to enjoy the festival then hop on a boat and silently float on the lake in Beihai Park, whilst watching the full moon silhouetted against the water. In this moment, you will feel at peace, the trials and tribulations of daily life will feel like a distant memory.
The next destination on your journey is the eastern part of Marco Polo Bridge. Here you can immerse yourself in the unique religious fairs, watch the excellent lion dance performances or take part in traditional arts and crafts. Of course, you cannot forget the infamous Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Yangtze Mountain to learn about the unique Chinese history and culture, and marvel at the beautiful autumnal scenery.
Be sure to taste sweet moon cakes – a truly unforgettable culinary experience for any traveller.
KYOTO – THE QUEEN OF JAPANESE AUTUMN
For those who fell in love with autumn in the land of the rising sun, a trip to Kyoto – the queen of Japanese autumn is not to be missed. The miracles of mother nature provide autumn with a marvellous brush to create a zealous painting of life and Kyoto makes for a marvellous picture. When autumn arrives in the historic city of Kyoto, the beauty of the temples is only amplified with a spectacular array of colourful maple leaves in all shades of green, yellow and burnt orange. It really is a sight to behold, one which tourists can not resist.
Visiting from early October, you will not be able to resist the realm of beautiful temples awash with colourful leaves. Particularly noteworthy is Tofuku-ji – the city’s oldest and largest temple; Ginkaku-ji – The UNESCO Japanese authentic architectural Heritage Site; Takao Village, nestled in the mountains, is renowned for its idyllic scenery with the dense foliage standing out against the vast cerulean sky; or marvel at the magnificent autumnal scenery whilst sipping a cup of green tea at Eikando Temple. All of these landmarks will make your autumn journey through Kyoto more memorable than ever.
ENJOY THE AUTUMNAL SCENERY ON THE BOSPHORUS STRAIT IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY
September is a time when autumn begins to “captivate” travellers in Istanbul. After the burning summer days, the gentle autumnal atmosphere oozes out and spreads across this beautiful city. The fresh breeze and gentle sunshine make the city seem more charming and poetic. Not to be missed when travelling to Istanbul in autumn is to sail on the illustrious Bosphorus Strait. With a length of 33km connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus Strait – the soul of Istanbul is considered a boundary dividing Asia and Europe. Wake up for breakfast in Europe and watch the sunset on Bosphorus Bay before devouring dinner in Asia.
Boating on the Bosphorus Strait is an extremely popular activity for tourists when visiting Istanbul. It takes 2 hours to get from the Golden Horn Seaport to the Bosphorus Bridge. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the stunningly beautiful scenery on both sides of the strait in the cool autumnal weather. Discover the spectacle that is the towering Topkapi Palace, the Maiden Tower nestled on the turquoise ocean, and the Great Mecidiye Mosque located within the beautiful Ortakoy Old Town. The city of Istanbul is a harmonic melange of Eurasian styles, which has conquered the heart of travellers because of its idyllic and distinctive beauty.
THE FERVENT TASTE OF WINE IN THE DOURO VALLEY, PORTUGAL
If you are dreaming of a leisurely autumnal holiday with captivating views, the Douro Valley is exactly what you are looking for. Situated on the crystal clear Douro River, the beautiful terraced vineyards stretching over the rolling slopes and curving elegantly around the dreamy hillsides will leave any tourist mesmerised when visiting this area. Notably, autumn in the Duoro Valley is also the grape harvest season, sample succulent ripe grapes in the gorgeous natural surroundings and bask in the gentle rays of autumnal sunshine.
The Douro Valley has long been a famous land for grape cultivation across the world. Over the past two thousand years, the Porto wine region has gained a worldwide reputation for its quality products. Visiting the Douro Valley feels like you are getting lost in the world of wine, sipping glasses of delicious wine at the large factories of Quinta do Popa and Quinta das Carvalhas – the exquisite tastes make you not want to leave. When the journey ends, the sweet grape aftertaste and delectable aroma will follow you everywhere you go.
OKTOBERFEST – A BEER TENT PARADISE IN MUNICH, GERMANY
Your autumnal trip will be more colourful as with a stop at Oktoberfest Beer Festival, which runs from late September to the first week of October in the beautiful German City of Munich. When thinking of Oktoberfest, the first thing that springs to mind is the giant beer tents. Each beer tent can accommodate up to several thousand people, so this is a great festival for those who love a buzzing atmosphere. Moreover, here you will have the opportunity to enjoy countless types of freshly brewed beer from the world renowned breweries in Munich.
During Oktoberfest, you will see many women dressed in traditional dirndl dresses and men dressed in lederhosen, all wearing the same joyful expression on their faces. This is not a compulsory costume, but almost everyone at the festival sports the traditional dress to match the lively atmosphere of the festival. Standing in the enormous tents, enjoying steins of delicious beer and celebrating with the crowds will certainly have you forgetting about the everyday burdens back home.
TRUFFLE HUNTING IN THE AUTUMN IN ALBA, ITALY
Travelling in autumn is not only about marvelling at the changing colours of the flora, but also brings the exhilarating opportunity to hunt for truffles in Alba. The truffles are amongst the most expensive foods in the world, thought of as an endless inspiration for chefs worldwide and dubbed the ‘diamond of the kitchen’.
Located in the Italian region of Piedmont, Alba is the perfect town for hunting white truffles that grow mainly in the lush green forests during the autumnal months. During this hunt, it is essential to have truffle-sniffing dogs which help hunters seek out the white truffles that have a signature spicy flavour, hidden in the ground.
Additionally, you can participate in the Fiera del Tartufo Truffle Fair which is held every weekend from early October to late November. Enjoy an array of distinctive dishes made from prized mushrooms along with other featured products such as honey, olive oil, cheese and chocolate.
Experiencing autumn in Alba will be enough to make you want to return here next autumn.
“MEETING” GRIZZLY BEARS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
The North American grizzly bears are quite shy among the species, so it is difficult to detect them if there are lots of people present. However, when autumn falls in Canada, the flocks of salmon migrate into British Columbia for the breeding season. During this time, the grizzly bears will go in search of food, so you will easily have the opportunity to get up close with this wild animal.
Swing by the Great Bear Rainforest in the autumn. You will not only be able to see grizzly bears, but you can also admire wolves standing along the river; large eagles spreading their wings and swooping high in the sky; sea lions, dolphins and whales making the most of the fresh cool water. The autumn here is really both a paradise for wildlife lovers and a great opportunity for you to get up close and personal with Mother Nature.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and plucking up the courage to take part in these unique experiences, will allow you to achieve marvellous things in life. If you have never explored the natural world, this is your chance to experience the most fascinating and memorable things.
PERITO MORENO GLACIER IN ARGENTINA
While autumn falls in northern countries from September to November, the southern hemisphere countries say goodbye to the winter and welcome the spring with the most intense energy. This is also a good time to begin your trip to Argentina and admire the beautiful Perito Moreno Glacier located in the Glaciers National Park, in Santa Cruz Province – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
Imagine a refreshing morning, the crystal clear blue sky dappled with sparkling rays of sunshine spreading over the peaks of the mountains and shining on every leaf, stand in front of the white river full of ice and snow, in that moment it will feel like time is standing still. The ice here is not flattened, it is smooth yet rugged with the surrounding channels entrenched with ice. The ice sparkles in the sunlight like pearls, leaving people dumbfounded by the magic of nature. Moreover, when stopping at the Glaciers National Park, you also have the opportunity to marvel at the magnificent scenery, which is blended with an array of bright colours of the turquoise ice, the azure water and the lush green of surrounding trees, all forming a unique painting. One great experience not to be missed during your trip is a stroll around the glaciers, leaving you fascinated by the remarkable capabilities of ice.
WATCH WHALES IN HERMANUS, SOUTH AFRICA
When picturing South Africa, people often think of an adventure safari or a majestic sunset that captures the last glorious rays of sunshine on the vast savannah. Nevertheless, when you arrive on this splendid continent, don’t hesitate to come to Hermanus – a charming little beachfront town to see another miracle of nature – the giant Atlantic whales.
The gentle breeze carries the saltiness of the ocean, lightly skimming the faces of travellers urging them to take a closer look, maybe even a dip. Watching the whales glide smoothly through the water, you undoubtedly will be stunned at their gargantuan size. They sometimes disappear from view, leaving only a giant propeller-shaped tail mark on the vast ocean. The whales arrive in Hermanus to catch the breeding season, find their partners, mate and eventually give birth. Therefore, Hermanus is dubbed the “mecca” for those who love admiring this giant marine creature – a real once in a lifetime experience.
DISCOVER KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK IN AUSTRALIA
The Karijini National Park is an ideal destination for any traveller who desires a true adventure. Nestled behind Hamersley Range, Karijini boasts enormous canyons that create beautiful water holes and otherworldly waterfalls. It is said that the Far West region of Australia is home to the most raw but striking beauty and only when you travel there will you really understand these feelings lodged in the depths of the gulfs and in the unique reflections of the towering red cliffs. At each canyon, there are roads running from the top of the cliffs, to the bottom of the hundreds-of-meter gulfs. Over the course of the ages, the rock surface close to the bottom has been worn away due to the crevices in the sediments, allowing it to form spectacular terraces. You can hike through the ancient canyons and hear the echoes of times gone by. To explore Karijini, you need to have good spirit and health, because climbing and conquering slippery canyons is quite dangerous and requires a lot of concentration. However, the sense of achievement that you feel after this adventure will be truly special.
Lan Thi | Wanderlust Tips