For BFFs only
You’ve been saving your hard-earned coin, had endless long lunches to compare notes and it’s now crunch time. You need to book that getaway with the girls ASAP. So whether you’re after an action-packed adventure, a foodie safari, a party-til-you-drop affair or some blissful chillax time, here are some destinational travel tips that will ensure your much-anticipated chick-fest is a holiday worth remembering.
Adventurous gals? Renowned as one of the most breathtaking treks in the world, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu will have you ambling through sublime rainforests, scaling towering mountains and splashing your way through meandering rivers before resting your weary boots on the ridge of this 15th century wonder.
After a boat ride from Saigon through the Mekong Delta, crank up that motorbike and prepare to inhale the crisp mountain air of Vietnam’s gorgeous highlands. Vistas of spectacular limestone outcrops, vast rice fields and meandering coastlines will have your work-weary batteries re-charged in no time.
Take a leisurely trip down the stunning back-road topography of the Nicoya Peninsula and drop in on some of the country’s most enviable surf spots, including Playa Guiones. One of the most consistent breaks on the planet, its reputation as a ‘swell magnet’ means surfable waves are on offer (for all skill levels) over 300 days a year. Gnarly!
Buckle up and prepare for the pant-wetting madness that epitomises cycling the infamous Death Road. Known as one of the world’s most dangerous, its skimpy pathways and soaring cliff faces are not for the faint hearted, but the experience will guarantee a lifelong memory (and possibly a sore nether region).
Prefer a food frenzy? The birthplace of a universal snack staple, the Neapolitans have been fashioning these flatbread creations as far back as the 16th century. Whether you chow down on a Napoletana, Romana, Capricciosa or a decadent Quattro Formaggi pizza (with not one, but four types of cheese), it’s all cosi bella here.
Oktoberfest in Munich is the perfect way to sample a few of this country’s scrumptious beers and end a crazy-arse summer festival season. With fourteen ale-themed tents and entertainment add-ons like crossbow competitions and yodelers (but of course!), you’ll definitely be getting your prost on.
If you’re more of a wine connoisseur, head to the world-famous Bordeaux region, an area of over 121,000 hectares of lusciously fragrant vineyards. Producing over 450 million bottles of vino a year, there’s plenty to taste test. And it’s all within the surrounds of a fairytale manor or two.
Need something to complement that mighty red? Many will attest that what Bordeaux is to wine, the Bregenzerwald Road is to cheese. With experts spread across 22 scenic villages, this area features vivid pastures, Alpine hiking trails and dairymen (and milk maids!) who lovingly tend to over 60 varieties of this dreamy stuff.
If you’d prefer a more chilled time, road trip girl’s-style with a drive north along the California Coast Route. Crank up the tunes as you head out of LA, then plan a stop at one of Santa Barbara’s beautiful beaches, Big Sur’s stunning viewpoints or Monterey’s historic architecture, before you prepare for a touristy jaunt around eclectic San Fran.
A kaleidoscope of coral gardens, turquoise waters and palm-fringed beaches. This is one of the richest ecosystems on the planet – the Great Barrier Reef – it’s on our doorstep and it’s a mind-blowing natural wonder. If you’ve got your sea legs, consider booking a multi-day sailing trip where you can snorkel, scuba dive or just splash about with the sea life to your heart’s content.
Whether you’re after the royal treatment or a quick massage, Bali’s day spa options are infinite. For a more rustic experience, head to the tranquillity of Ubud for a uniquely blissful zone-out. Pop on a seaweed facial then lay back and prepare to experience the serenity of a purifying Mandi Lulur rub down. You’ll be floating on (deliciously fragrant) air in no time.
If tunes float your boat, head to Boom and soak up an overload of audio and visual stimulation at one of the largest electronic music festival in the world. Top DJ’s and thousands of aurally-adept punters attend, so grab your swag and join the other 38,000+ on-site campers tuning into the outdoorsy-vibe.
Shopaholic? Then this city is your haven of retail ecstasy. From iconic department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York to Madison Avenue’s ritziest boutiques featuring miles of global hefty-named designers, prepare to ditch the heels for a comfortable pair of trudge worthy flats and purchase another suitcase for the trip home.
Bonjour to retail therapy in the City of Lights! With French beret akilter, prepare to channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw with a visit to famous department stores like Colette and Printemps, before exploring more urban pursuits like the historic Marais quarter, the Paris Flea Market and the picture postcard delights of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.
Milan is an haute couture powerhouse, where must-have items jump from catwalks to clothes rails in a number of weeks. However, unlike Paris’ sprawling fashion district, this city’s boutiques slot nicely into a square known as the Quadrilatero d’Oro. Visit the likes of Via Montenapoleone for an upscale choice, or if on a leaner budget, hotfoot it straight to designer outlets like Il Salvagente.
Popping out for a spot of shopping in legendary department stores like Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Harrods is a no-brainer, but this city is also the perfect place to get lost in, with its bewitching markets spruiking everything from clothing to antiques. Camden, Old Spitalfields and Covent Garden are just a few of the must-visits.
Self-classified party animals? Thailand’s mythical Full Moon Parties are a mash-up of body glow paint, cocktails and bonfire-fuelled twerking, with the most famous party haven, undeniably, the beach at Koh Phangan. Get your groove on with the rest of the 30,000 revelers before retreating at sun-up to rest and refuel for another evening of insane frivolity.
One of the biggest parties EVA, the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval features ‘bandas’ or street parties guided by exhuberant entertainers who traipse the streets seeking out bedazzling, like-minded funsters. Glamorous, glitzy and erotic, it climaxes in the world’s longest and most outrageous runway, Sambódromo, a dizzying experience featuring more sequin-and-feather-covered flesh than a Baz Lurhmann film.
Marching bands, masked pranksters, garish floats … prepare for the madness of N’awlin’s Mardi Gras. With more than 50 parades winding through the city over a couple of crazy-time weeks, floats celebrate a theme chosen by their ‘krewe’ and range from Zulus to Chewbacchus to a procession worshipping Rex, the King of the Carnival. Costume-up, down a sazerac or two and be sure to nab a set of beads as a souvenir.
Ah, Sin City. The only place you can enjoy brunch under the Eiffel Tower, a party in ancient Rome and say ‘I do’ in a chapel under the watchful gaze of Elvis at midnight. Famed for its 24-hour casinos, super-charged nightlife and more than 6 kilometres of themed hotels, you can hop onboard a party bus (complete with stripper pole), practice your best poker face at the black jack table or just soak up the streetmosphere of this truly mind-blowing city.