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  • Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir once told us, “I think if we care about ourselves, we can always make time (to travel). And travel need not take a lot of time. You can see a lot in 3-5 days if you plan well and have realistic expectations.”
  • This, in many ways, is true. As we bid farewell to 2019, and look forward to what prospects 2020 has in store, there’s no time quite like now to get excited and inspired to explore more of the world. As you revel in wanderlust-fuelled fantasies and begin planning your travel bucket list for next year, we sat down with social activist, writer, and founder of women’s travel portal, Zafigo herself, for destinations she recommends for women with adventure on their minds. Here are her top 5 picks:

This story first appeared on Prestige Online Malaysia, by Diandra Soliano.

 

 

1
Patagonia, Argentina and Chile

“There couldn’t be a place further than Malaysia to go to. It’s almost at the South Pole. But so beautiful and so different from our country. I loved seeing the Perito Moreno glacier – a giant block of ice in the sunshine! And the mountains in the Torres del Paine National Park. We would get up early in the morning to see the sun rise. Very cold but if you’re dressed correctly, it’s well worth it.”

2
Bhutan

“It’s Shangrila, that’s it. So beautiful, especially the Punakkha valley. The dzongs, which are the fortress-like monasteries are like unbelievable movie sets, filled with the most photogenic monks in maroon robes you’ve ever seen. Very handsome people too, and they all seem to speak excellent English.”

3
Japan

“Any part of it. I love the energy of Tokyo and I love the serenity of the countryside. I’ve been on a walking tour of rural Japan and I highly recommend it, as long as you have good knees. Each meal on the entire trip was amazing. Also everybody has to try an onsen, the Japanese hot spring bath, at least once. Once you get over being shy, it’s the most relaxing thing ever. You’ll sleep like a baby afterwards.”

4
India

“Especially Rajasthan. I took my kids there when they were quite young and they loved it. By the end my daughters’ arms were entirely circled with bangles and we got them some kurtas very cheaply made. The Taj Mahal is much better in real life but I loved Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted palace town the Emperor Akbar built for all his wives, each of whom believed in different religions. I’ve also been to Kerala which was very different but also great. We went up to Lake Periyar in the hills which has an Ubud-type vibe and also stayed on a houseboat and sailed around the backwaters. The onboard cook made us goreng pisang for tea as we sailed along those calm waters and it was just idyllic.”

5
Indonesia

“Indonesia is a huge country and has so much more to offer than just Bali. I like Yogyakarta and Solo a lot because they have an old-worldly vibe. We once drove from Jogja all the way to Bali, stopping at various towns along the way including Solo, Malang and Ijen. We saw a lot of the country that way and tasted all sorts of different food. In Ijen we stayed at a hotel near a volcano. The scene when we opened our door the first morning was straight out of a painting – padi field, mountain, kampung houses, ducks and goats.”

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