For this month’s blog round-up, we asked our talented Pathfinder community to share with us their best stories from destinations included in our Best in Travel 2019 list – an expert-approved shortlist of the top 10 countries, cities, regions and best value destinations to visit over the next 12 months; and boy did they deliver.
Through them, we’ve heard tales of endangered cats in Colombo, treks to sulphur lakes in Indonesia and the joys of sustainable living in Slovenia; all adding extra colour to this year’s nominated destinations.
Narrowing down the submissions is never easy, but here’s five of our favourite Best in Travel-themed blog posts courtesy of our globetrotting Pathfinders.
The Asian fishing cat: surviving urban jungles in Sri Lanka – Carol Guttery
Destination covered: Sri Lanka, #1 best country for 2019
Carol’s article is focused on efforts to save Sri Lanka’s big cats from extinction; no not leopards, the country’s lesser-known oversized moggie, the Asian fishing cat, whose wetland habitat is under threat from the expanding city of Colombo. The unusual subject matter draws readers into this informative post, which, along with a detailed background of the allusive predator, recommends areas in the city where visitors can catch a glimpse of the animal and how they can aid in ongoing conservation efforts – the result is a near purrfect post (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Carol’s blog aims to encourage travellers to go beyond the headline sights and find alternative and offbeat adventures. Learn more at wayfaringviews.com.
11 reasons to visit the desert of Kutch, Gujarat: in photos – Ellie Cleary
Destination covered: Gujarat, #7 best region for 2019
Ellie’s post is beautiful to look at, interspersed with vibrant images of life in the arid Kutch district of Gujarat, including shots of colourful camels and shepherds sipping chai with their flocks. And while the pictures alone make this an interesting piece, Ellie opts to delve a little deeper into what she sees, posing questions about whether tourism’s capability to help preserve traditional cultures is a positive or negative thing – ultimately leaving the reader with much to ponder as well as look at.
Ellie and Ravi created Soul Travel as an inspirational and practical guide to sustainable travel, showcasing how travel can be a force for good. Find out more at soultravelblog.com.
Kawah Ijen: the infernal beauty – Aleksandra Tofil
Destination covered: Indonesia, #7 best country for 2019
Why is Indonesia ranked as one of our best countries to visit in 2019? Primarily because of the smorgasbord of activities on offer throughout this thousand-island archipelago, and here Aleksandra highlights an experience away from the cerulean-ribboned shorelines the country is perhaps best known for. Aleksandra’s story is a classic travel yarn documenting her early-morning ascent to the sulphur crater lake atop Ijen volcano in East Java. Full of excitement, tension and humour, this piece left us wanting to pull on our hiking boots and seek out our own off-piste adventure.
Aleksandra and Andrzej are travelling around the world in a converted ambulance, sharing stories from the destinations they roll through. Keep up with their adventures at peryferie.com.
Jordan: 10 great days – Javi Lorbada
Destination covered: Jordan, #6 best country for 2019
Javi is a wizard with a camera and his photo essay of Jordan sent us into something of a trance. The snaps in this post, which range from brooding, copper-tinged desert vistas to colourful wall murals on the streets of Amman, wonderfully showcase the draws of this multifaceted destination, bursting with attractions for outdoor lovers and city slickers alike. The impressive imagery is complemented by Javi’s usual clipped prose style, providing context to the visuals and personal thoughts on the areas he visits.
Born in Madrid, Javi travels far and wide in search of the perfect shot. Keep tabs on his latest work at javilorbada.com.
Destination covered: Slovenia, #10 best value destination for 2019
Sustainability may be something of a buzz word in the travel industry at the moment, but in the sleepy villages of Slovenia’s Vipava Valley it’s a long-established way of life. In this post, Dan – one of our trailblazer contributors – slows down the pace and takes a few days to explore this gorgeous region, sipping on wine from family cellars, tasting honey from local hives and gorging on food sourced from the surrounding countryside. Dan’s descriptions of vine-bedraggled balconies and snoozing dogs bring the village atmosphere to life, with excellent imagery rounding off a great read.
Dan is one of Lonely Planet’s trailblazers and has spent over 1000 days on the road exploring new places and meeting new faces. Learn more at danflyingsolo.com.
- A day exploring Seattle along the Sound Transit Light Rail — Brian Cicioni (Seattle, #8 best city)
- In pictures: the landscapes and locals of Issyk Kul Lake — Richard Collett (Kyrgyzstan, #5 best country)
- How to solo hike the Santa Cruz Trek in Northern Peru — Dianne Minardi (Northern Peru, #3 best region)
Find out what else the Lonely Planet Pathfinders are up to by checking out the Pathfinders forum on Thorn Tree.