With a knapsack on your back
Here’s a list of three great destinations abroad for young Nepali backpackers on a summer holiday, who always have the mountains to come home to, not to mention the occasional reader belonging to a foreign nationality.
Formentera, Balearic Islands
The vibe: Hippy slick. Bohemian but definitely not crusty, the tiny island of Formentera is the calming antidote to sister Ibiza’s party beat. Invaded by hippies in the 60s and 70s, today it’s popular with Italians: designer thongs outweigh tie-dye — though many bare all on the beaches. The sea here’s as clear as you’ll find anywhere in the Med and there are plenty of hidden bays for total seclusion. Head to Lucky Beach where ambient tunes float from the beach bar as you soak up the rays, and wander up to the Blue Bar for the sunsets. There’s even a Michelin-starred restaurant, Caminito (+34 971 328 106; rte-caminito), in the village of Pujols. Go there now: Because it’s the in place to chill — look out for the likes of Elle McPherson on a day trip from Ibiza — and it’s still off the radar of many. Where to stay: Building is strictly controlled but the eco-friendly Cap de Barbaria Petit Hotel (+34 617 46 06 09, capdebarbaria.com) opened last year in the south, with six double rooms. Prices from £250 per double room per night. Who should go: Those who like their holidays relaxed with a trendy edge.
Luang Prabang, Laos
The vibe: Surrounded by mountains and rivers, it’s dreamy and laid-back, with barely a nod to 21st-century living and only a sprinkling of visitors. The “city” has 16,000 residents, few cars and is home to hundreds of saffron-clad Buddhist monks who will stop you in the street for a chat. French colonial influence is seen in the dozens of bakeries dotted around. There are historic temples aplenty, but it’s not a place to tick off the sights; rather sit by the river, watch the world go by and munch on freshly baked pastries. Go there now: With more tourists beating a track to neighbouring Vietnam and Cambodia, word is out about Laos’ charms. Where to stay: Les 3 Nagas (+856 71 253 888, 3nagas.com), near the city centre, is a 15-room boutique hotel made up of two old French houses, the second of which opened
last December. US$72 for a double (valid May 1- September 30). Who should go: Anybody who likes to take life easy but doesn’t fancy the beach — this isn’t a place to do anything in a hurry. — The Guardian
The vibe: Tropical island with a dash of medieval romance. The beaches are unquestionably idyllic but it’s the other-worldliness of 14th century Lamu Old Town that sets it apart. Entirely car-free, the donkey and the dhow dictate the pace of island life and though hippies have been trickling through since the 60s, it now attracts wealthy trendsetters and the odd celebrity after somewhere fashionably low key. It’s a traditionally Muslim world and hospitality’s important — expect a warm welcome and invitations to dinner at local homes.
Go there now: Several new, small properties are opening including Jasmine House, a six-bedroom Arabic family house with a plunge pool and cook. Where to stay: To Escape To (toescapeto.com) features Jasmine House in Shela for £199 a night (sleeps up to 10). Or try the family-run Peponi Hotel on Shela beach (+0254 42 633 421, peponi-lamu.com) and tuck into fresh rock oysters at the bar and seafood and Swahili specialties in the restaurant; from GBP116 per double room B&B. Who should go: Anyone wanting to combine chill-time on an exotic beach with a cultural feast. Don’t expect full-moon parties or nightlife.