Last week on Twitter we had a big chat on the topic of SMALL TOWNS on “The Road Less Travelled” (#TRLT).
When all of you hear the words, “travel destination” I know what comes to your mind; Big cities like Paris, London, Rome, Tokyo, Cairo, Amsterdam. Wonders like Petra, Taj Mahal and The Colosseum dance across your mind. Notable cities and sites are a way to get your feet wet and are famous for a reason. I recently took a memorable 10 Country, 10 Capital Cities Road Trip mom and daughter style through Scandinavia and The Baltic States. In my book, big cities are the hors d’oeuvres, make time for the full meal by selecting at least one small town to visit each time you land in a big city.
China is bursting with big city wealth. Who would want to miss bustling Beijing and the Great Wall of China, Xi’an home of the Terra Cotta Warriors or Shanghai and it’s ozone piercing sky scrapers? But travellers who know, venture out further by train discovering the small towns that highlight the countryside giving them authentic Chinese lifestyle. Hike the meandering dirt roads lined by handmade flat stone walls. Absorb one-of-a-kind views of the Dragon Spine rice terraces of Longji that have been producing for hundreds of years. Discover the massive live animal market of Kashgar and drink freshly brewed green tea with crumbled leaves at the cups’ bottom in a guest house in Tiger Leaping Gorge. Borrow a bicycle and pedal through Yangshuo counting farmers in their straw cone-shaped hats, suit-like cotton tops, their pants rolled up to their knees as they plough through the mucky fields controlling their water buffalo. None of these treasures can be seen and felt in the city.
Passing through India, most never explore beyond the Golden Triangle formed by Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur. In India a small town is an invitation to participate in holidays and family events. Festivals and parties take over the streets and local shopkeepers invite you in to share. The cleaner, relaxed side of India waits for you in the small towns. There are no tourists and locals see you as a friend or a guest rather than a walking wallet. Without the crush of tourism and the traps for them, the locals are as interested in you as you are in them. In Orchha there are intact palace ruins from the 16th century that you’re free to roam and explore at your own pace. World class views, buildings and palace are reflected in the peaceful Betwa River meandering through it. Don’t miss rustic Bikaner where camels pull wooden wagons down the dusty streets laden with bulging burlap sacks. Just outside of Bikaner, the unique Karni Mata rat temple is a select experience where rats run over your feet, blessing you with good luck while they are cared for and fed like VIPs. In another town, the stones surrounding Hampi morph golden as the sun sets over the ruins of the once-magnificent Vijayanagar Empire. These are by definition magnificent, rivalling any big city experience. To see this is to be emotionally and spiritually changed.
Join us TODAY at 1pmNYC/6pmUK on “The Road Less Travelled” Twitter LIVE chat for a chat about EXPLORATION. Search the hashtag #TRLT to find us and be sure to include the hashtag in your tweets to us when you participate with your fellow travelers. When you’re inspired, I’m inspired. I am here each week hosting the live chat with fellow travellers Shane Dallas (public speaker, visited 100+ countries), Jessica Lipowski (accomplished author and “foodie”) and Anton Magnin (specialist in family travel).
Categories: Savannah Grace