By VARDHAN KONDVIKAR, Editor, Lonely Planet Magazine India
Vasco da Gama’s gun? Or his uncle’s? Finding one of those is a distinct possibility this month, in our Last-Minute Holidays special. And even if you don’t (Paresh Rawal probably has it somewhere), you’ll find a slew of fun, sun-kissed destinations lurking in wait, like friends planning the surprise party you’ve known of all along.
Switzerland, for one, is a destination we think we know all too well, but it’s always capable of throwing up a surprise. Interlaken is as comfortably known to Indians as a favourite pair of jeans, but there’s another side to it: a side with screams, cows dressed for parties, and plenty of adventure, all with a view of Jungfrau, instead of the familiar one from it. Even the new (very cool, post-AIB) Karan Johar hasn’t been here.
Goa, too, feels like something you know. But, as someone who calls the tiny state home, I’m pretty sure you don’t know it this well. We’ve broken it down into great things for different kinds of travellers, so you’re sure to find something you love, whether it’s looking for crocodiles, go-karting, staying in some of the sweetest little hotels, or sailing off into the sunset.
Just in case Goa feels too familiar, you can try Portugal, where they sing sad songs and yet manage to have a wonderful time in the South European sun: with a bottle of port and a surprisingly affordable bill by your elbow, you’ll feel right at home.
And if you really just want to get away from it all, there’s always Thailand, with a forest of secluded islands, each with a score of secluded beaches. Find a long-tail boat, grab a beer and burble off on glorious turquoise water.
The thing about unsurprising surprise parties is that while they might not be unexpected, they’re still damned good fun.