Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
Indonesia: Sail the Bandas
The 150-foot, two-masted Purnama, in Indonesia's Banda Islands, is the ultimate way for a lottery winner and nine friends to explore the region’s empty beaches and world-class dive sites. From $12,500 per day
Thailand: Embrace Your Inner Beach Bum
Three hours south of Bangkok, the Gulf of Thailand’s three-mile-long Thung Mamao beach is one of the least crowded white-sand havens in Prachuap province. The sleek X2 Kui Buri Resort is the only hotel on it. R&R is the focus here, but you can stretch your legs on a vintage Thai cruiser or paddle a tandem kayak in the bay’s warm water. Come sunset it’s easy to find the 48-foot-long stone bar for a Thai whiskey tasting at Happy Sippy Hour. From $185
Laos: Traverse an Entire Country
Road-bike through rice paddies, kayak with river dolphins on the Mekong, and hike steep jungle paths through the waterfalls and coffee plantationsof the Bolaven Plateau on the 13-day Hidden Places tour. Spanning the full length of Laos, the route covers nearly 722 miles, from Pakse in the south to Luang Prabang in the north, with stops at timeless French-colonial villages and breathtaking temples. In Luang Prabang, browse porcelain opium pipes in the moonlit stalls of the city’s famous night market, or sip white burgundy at the wine bars of Sakhalin Road. You can even trek with elephants in a minimally impactful way: company cofounders Maria Coffey and Dag Goering, a veterinarian, also founded Elephant Earth Initiative, an organization that supports science-based approaches to elephant welfare and conservation. $3,990
Re-acclimate to urban living at the President hotel in Vientiane, Laos. With high tea on the lawn, it offers the city’s most opulent lodgings, though its 32 rooms make it feel more like a small palace. The spa will take care of your burning quads. From $345
Bangkok: Tour the Food Stands
Bangkok has thousands of open-air restaurants and food stalls. Some of our favorites have been doing business in the same spot for decades.
Kuai Tiao Pik Kai Sai Nam Phueng
Travelers and locals alike have sought out the savory chicken wings, deep-fried snakehead fish, and pork wontons for 60 years at a storied raw-food market. Khlong Toei district
Daeng Racha Hoi Thot
This open-air eatery serves the largest, freshest oysters and mussels in the city. Try the Hoi Thot—fresh mussels in crispy pancakes made from a batter of rice flour and arrowroot starch. Samphanthawong district
Sudjai Kai Yang Or Tor Kor
It ain’t bragging if it’s true: chef Aunt Sudjai Phonjang won first place in Thailand’s Som Tam Championship for serving the nation’s greatest green papaya salad out of her stall. Chatuchak district
Khao Nhiao Moon Mae Waree
This 24-hour stand serves sticky rice with creamy coconut milk and fresh, ripe mangos—the ultimate 3 a.m. snack. Thonglor district
Myanmar: Eat Your Way Through Yangon
Myanmar’s culinary scene is getting a shot in the arm with repatriated entrepreneurs and expat chefs. Anchoring Yangon’s food renaissance is Rangoon Tea House, a downtown eatery in a minimalist, turn-of-the-century building known for its duck empanadas and a tasty soup called mohinga, a regional specialty. At Rau Ram, the Hawaiian-born, Harvard-grad chef Kevin Ching serves Bun Cha Feast—a smattering of spring rolls, porchetta, lemongrass pork meatballs, and rice noodles—in a luxurious bistro. Beat the city’s smoldering heat with a crisp Hoegaarden at Port Autonomy, hidden away in a leafy oasis near Shwedagon Pagoda.
Vietnam: Paddle Your Own Boat
After redefining travel on the Amazon, Aqua Expeditions is now plying the Mekong River between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh. Its 20-suite Aqua Mekong is more like a floating boutique hotel. Don’t be fooled by the plush amenities, though. Aqua’s team of local guides have encyclopedic knowledge of the region’s history and wildlife, and you can join them on three-, four-, or seven-night excursions on the ship, including daytime jaunts in a skiff or kayak. Paddle through narrow waterways to bamboo-stilt dwellings, or trek through dense jungles in search of crumbling temples. Or ride an all-terrain bike through riverbank villages. From $3,855 for three nights
Indonesia: Deepen Your Focus
Former competitive freediver Hanli Prinsloo set 11 South African records in her decade-long career, then went on to teach some of the world’s top adventure athletes how to stretch their lungs. Now she’s helping mere mortals learn to freedive in some of the most beautiful spots on the planet. In 2017, Prinsloo will offer a manta ray dive trip in Komodo National Park and a yacht charter to Raja Ampat, where guests can swim with whale sharks. Lessons cover the basics for holding your breath and slowing your heart rate, ensuring that landlubbers are relaxed and confident. You can also feel good knowing that a portion of your trip supports I Am Water Ocean Conservation, Prinsloo’s nonprofit, which works with underprivileged kids from coastal communities. Price upon request
Sri Lanka: Surf the Laccadive Sea
Though peak season runs from November to April, there’s never a bad month to visit the brand-new Soul and Surf yoga and surf retreat on the lush southern coast of Sri Lanka. Within a 30-minute drive, there are waves for all skill levels: sandy-bottom beach breaks for beginners, and reef and point breaks for everybody else. With daily two-hour surf coaching in the warm water, video feedback, vinyasa flow sessions, and locally sourced meals, a week at this magical, all-inclusive retreat won’t be enough. From $900
Bali: Get Back to the Farm
Nestled in a natural rainforest setting, the garden and treehouse-like canopy suites at Ubud’s new Bisma Eight hotel offer jungle views but are within walking distance of the Monkey Forest, Ubud Palace, and other must-see sites in town. The staff can arrange sunrise treks and whitewater-rafting trips on the Ayung River—and the hotel's Copper Kitchen and Bar has quickly become one of Ubud’s top tables. Guests pick produce from a sustainable farm and enjoy vegetable nasi goreng and cardamom-and-star-anise-infused cocktails. From $165
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