The towns where travellers lose track of time

Courtesy: Lonely Planet

It was only supposed to be a couple of days; time enough to check out the temple you’d read about, pick up some bargains in the market, and mosey round the town before you head off to the next stop on your travels.

Yet somehow it’s a week later and not only are you still there, but you can’t see yourself leaving anytime soon. You have a favourite bar where the staff greet you like an old friend, and the receptionist in your guesthouse has a look of weary bemusement at your daily request to stay for just one more night.

You’re not alone: whether it’s a fortnight’s holiday or a year-long adventure, many travellers on a multi-destination trip find themselves spending longer than intended in one place. Here is Lonely Planet’s picks of some of the top spots in which to lose track of time, plus the reasons why they’re so damn hard to leave.

 

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia – too serene

Ubud, Bali: so chilled out, you might never leave. Image by Martin Puddy / Stone / Getty Images

Ubud is the perfect place for weary travellers to restore their mental and physical wellbeing. With ornate Hindu temples, colourful offerings and flowering trees on every street, the town has retained a spiritual and tranquil atmosphere despite its popularity. Fantastic spas offering affordable treatments are plentiful, making it a good spot for recovering after partying in some of Bali’s lively beach resorts.

 

San Sebastian, Spain – too tasty

You'll never have your fill of Spanish foodie capital San Sebastian. Image by Panoramic Images / Getty ImagesYou’ll never have your fill of Spanish foodie capital San Sebastian.

While many of us have sampled the delights of a pub crawl or two in our time, eating at multiple venues in one evening is a more unusual concept; a trip to San Sebastian, however, will make it seem like the best way to eat on the planet. The region is famous with foodies for its pintxos; delicious, snack-size delights often enjoyed with a regional wine, such as rioja or txakoli.  Pintxos bars are typically small and bustling, with a steady flow of punters having a quick bite before heading to the next venue. Travellers will find the lively atmosphere just as addictive as the food itself.

What to see and do

Lazy days can be spent on the city’s two superb beaches, family-friendly Playa de la Concha and surfer’s favourite Playa de Gros, before evenings in foodie heaven. Borda Berri and Bar Goiz Argi are just two of the many pintxos bars worth checking out.

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile – too much to see

From vast salt pans to giant sand dunes, and spouting geysers to snow-capped mountains, the diverse and spectacular scenery around San Pedro de Atacama will wow even the most seasoned of travellers. The surrounding Atacama Desert is such an inhospitable environment that many travellers won’t have anticipated just how much there is to see and do around San Pedro, but once they find out they’ll be in no rush to leave.

What to see and do

Watching the sunset at the Valley of the Moon as it sets the neighbouring Andes ablaze is the town’s most popular activity,and a stargazing tour is a must-do in a place regarded as having the best night sky for astronomy in the world.

Luang Prabang, Laos – too relaxed

The laidback night market is as hectic as it gets in lovely Luang Prabang. Image by Anders Blomqvist / Lonely Planet Images / Getty ImagesThe laidback night market is as hectic as it gets in lovely Luang Prabang. Image by Anders Blomqvist / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

After a spell in some of Southeast Asia’s chaotic towns and cities, lovely Luang Prabang offers welcome relief. Leisurely days are spent wandering around temples, cycling the quiet streets, and relaxing in characterful cafés. Opt for a guesthouse with a balcony overlooking the Mekong, kick back in a hammock, and watch the river as it meanders around the town. You’ll be so relaxed you’ll barely notice as the days turn into weeks.

What to see and do

Check out the town’s star attraction, the picture-perfect monastery complex of Wat Xieng Thong, and be sure to catch the night market, a delightfully calm place to buy some local goods.

Brighton, England – too eclectic

Traditional, family-friendly British seaside resort or fun and edgy party paradise? Brighton has many faces and you’ll end up keen to see them all. This is a town for fish and chips and walks on the beach, for vintage shopping in North Laine, hedonistic nights in lively bars and vibrant exhibitions, shows and festivals, including one of the best Pride events in the world. Whatever your flavour, you’ll find it in Brighton.

What to see and do

The Royal Pavilion should be top of your list – with its unique mix of regency glamour and Far East style, it is the perfect reflection of eclectic Brighton. The independent shops and boutiques of The Lanes (visitbrighton.com/shopping/the-lanes) are also well worth a look.

Queenstown, New Zealand – too much fun

You needn't fear boredom in Queenstown. Image by Karl Johaentges / LOOK-foto / Getty ImagesYou needn’t fear boredom in Queenstown.

There are few countries on earth which embrace outdoor adventure like New Zealand and nowhere epitomises its thrill-seeking spirit more than Queenstown. Where others see merely picturesque scenery, a Queenstowner sees a natural playground. Rivers are for jet boating down at high speed; hills are for leaping from with a parachute strapped to your back; bridges are merely platforms to bungee jump off. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down either. With more bars per capita than anywhere else in the country you’ll soon discover why Queenstown’s nightlife is legendary.

What to see and do

Kawarau Bridge Bungy is the original, whilst Nevis Bungy boasts one of the highest jumps in the world at a whopping 134 metres. Ride the Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak and luge your way down, take a spin on a jet boat on the Shotover river or try white water sledding.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s