50 Best Travel Finds of 2015

The Sun-Herald Traveller

27 December 2015 

I contributed along with a bunch of other Traveller writers. Here are my finds.

35 Best under-rated wine destination: Hungary

There are 22 wine-producing regions in Hungary and most of the wine is consumed in Hungary because it’s so good. The last two decades have seen significant growth – thanks to governmental support and young entrepreneurial vintners keen to share their wine with the world. Tokaj is the best-known region; Etyek-Buda is closest to Budapest; and if you’re short on time stop in
 at one of Budapest’s wine bars for a
 taster. Try Doblo, DiVino or Drop
Shop. See gotohungary.com.

43 Best under-visited country: Mongolia

Mongolia, one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries, offers the epitome of authentic travel experiences. You can meet nomads and together sip fermented horse milk before retiring to sleep in their ger. You can ride horses alongside locals whose skills have been passed down from their forefathers. You can explore the mountains, valleys, lakes and desert plains for hours without encountering another soul. This landlocked country is raw, it’s magnificent, it’s a sprawling expanse of spectacular. See intrepidtravel.com/Mongolia.

44. Best quirky hotel concept: Puri Mas, Lombok

Beach life and ballroom dancing? In Lombok, yes. Keen to share his love of ballroom dance and cultivate a community atmosphere, Puri Mas Resort owner Marcel de Rijk teaches children to dance (ballroom and traditional style) free of charge – as the Puri Mas ‘‘Friends of Dance’’ social dance project. Kids develop friendships and learn about cross-cultural respect – while guests are treated to an evening show by the performing youngsters every Monday night. See purimas-lombok.com. 

49. Best hotel infinity pool: Alila Jaal Akhdar

Forget sea views and cityscapes. The infinity pool with the creme de la creme of views is located at Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel. Opened in 2014, the hotel’s location is unrivalled. Nestled in the mountain peaks overlooking the Al Hajar range, the infinity pool is the place to soak up (excuse the pun) those dramatic panoramas. Fascinatingly, the hotel (pool, rooms and public areas) is crafted predominantly from hand-chipped stones from the surrounding mountains. See alilahotels.com/ jabalakhdar.